A Solidtec Solutions Application Engineer has recently won a 'Nearest to Commercialisation' award for a project in which he used design software, SolidWorks 3D CAD.
Manuel De Rivero designed a “Micro Hydro Generator” or “River turbine” in SolidWorks 3D CAD software and optimised the design using CFD software, SolidWorks Simulation, as part of his Engineering studies at Swinburne University.
The portable river turbine is designed to be placed in the surrounding rivers of remote villages in the mountainous regions of Asia, India, and South America, where inhabitants do not have access to electricity.
The turbine consists of a floating ring or open case which holds the blade. The blade is attached to a generator in the bank of the river by a rope. The user simply throws the turbine into river and utilising an aerofoil design, the turbine will stabilise itself into the area with the strongest current. The blade rotates due to flow of the river, which causes a circular movement or ‘torque’. The circular motion generates electricity via an electric generator located on the bank of the river.
The Micro Hydro Generator can generate enough electricity to run basic appliances equivalent to 2 or 3 lights, as well as a small TV or a laptop, a clock radio and even a small fridge.
“I used SolidWorks for all aspects of the design process, from initial concept generation to the final model for rapid prototyping. Due to the complex shape of the blade and the aerodynamic shape of the geometry I utilised the power of SolidWorks’ advanced surfacing capabilities. SolidWorks ease of use enabled me to quickly generate and refine designs” said DeRivero.
“I utilised SolidWorks Simulation capabilities to predict the effect of impact with logs and rocks and used SolidWorks Flow Simulation (also know as CFD) to analyse the aerodynamic shape of the ring and the turbulence generated by the blade," adds DeRivero.
“I’m very passionate about 3D CAD, SolidWorks and Simulation, always trying to learn more and investigate some different modelling techniques. It’s amazing how you can simulate real life behaviour using SolidWorks and when you test the product you get very similar results," says DeRiverio.