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Marine renewable energy

In the context of the sustainable exploitation of the Oceans, the “Ocean Renewable Energy” team (Produzione di energie rinnovabili dal mare) is involved in the development of theoretical/computational models and of experimental techniques for the analysis of systems to produce green energy from the Oceans.
The activity in this relatively new area stems from a transfer of expertise and know-how developed by INSEAN over the last decades in the areas of marine propulsion, fluid-structure interaction and the response of floating bodies to waves.
Ongoing research programs address in particular the analysis of devices for the exploitation of marine winds, currents and waves. The primary aim is to strengthen the capability of INSEAN to actively contribute to the technology enhancements that are necessary to increase the full exploitation of green energy as requested by existing international protocols.

State-of-the-art experimental techniques and equipment are used in world-class testing facilities to investigate fluid-dynamics phenomena that are responsible for the mechanisms of converting wind, tidal or wave energy into mechanical energy. The outcome of these studies provide fundamental knowledge for the design of high-performance concepts, to adapt energy generation devices to site-depending operating conditions and, not less important, to characterise the impact of devices with respect to the environment and human activities.
Testing facilities available at INSEAN make possible to analyse large-scale model devices and to simulate real operating conditions at sea including the effects of winds, currents and waves (descriptions of facilities are available in other pages of this website).

In parallel to model testing activities, theoretical and computational models are used to simulate devices and to predict the power output under different operating scenarios. Akin to other resaerch areas addressed at INSEAN, the development of mathematical/computational models is deeply integrated with experimental work in order to carry on the validation of models against results of dedicated model tests on representative cases. Once computational models are validated, these tools are applied to the analysis and design of energy generation devices.

Research items described above are partly carried on as self-funded programs and in the context of R&D national and international funded projects.
INSEAN is also actively involved into thematic networks and international organizations aimed at promoting knowledge and advances in engineering disciplines related with green energy generation from the Oceans.
Finally, great importance is given to R&D activities in the framework of collaborations with industrial partners interested in the development and production of solutions for the exploitation of the green energy potential of the Oceans.

Research Themes: