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Exploration of Alternative Designs for the Pumping Structure of the Ocean Grazer

Rauwerda, Pieter (2019) Exploration of Alternative Designs for the Pumping Structure of the Ocean Grazer. Research Project, Industrial Engineering and Management.


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Renewable energy sources are becoming increasingly important to meet future energy demand. The Ocean Grazer is a concept developed by the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen that may contribute to achieving this future demand. Crucial for the functioning of the Ocean Grazer is the sealing system which is keeping the seawater out of the base structure. The current sealing system is predicted to fail after just 193 days. This study aims to explore alternative designs for the pumping structure which do not need the current sealing system. The problem is tackled from a broad perspective at first where alternative pumping mechanisms are evaluated. This analysis shows that only a diaphragm pumping mechanism might be a feasible alternative. Preliminary calculations, however, show that this is not feasible due to the large pressure differences that arise in the concept of the Ocean Grazer. Next, the scope is narrowed to the exploration of alternative sealing systems. A local passive seal alternative is proposed where a flexible membrane separates the base structure from its external environment. All difficulties that arise from this concept, such as friction, elastic expansion, fatigue, etc. are explained and calculations are performed on the efficiency of the sealing system. Also, simulations have been performed to analyze the elastic expansion of this design when EPDM is used. Based on these simulations and calculations, it is proven that the material will fail to meet some of the requirements. More research should be done on a hybrid material that is reinforced with a stronger material that can deal with the pressures applied to the material. This enhanced material might be similar to the structural membrane created by Trelleborg for the Symphony wave energy converter.

Item Type: Thesis (Research Project)
Supervisor nameSupervisor E mail
Degree programme: Industrial Engineering and Management
Thesis type: Research Project
Language: English
Date Deposited: 09 Sep 2019
Last Modified: 17 Sep 2019 07:29

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