RM4: Ocean Current Turbine


The Reference Model Project (RMP), sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), was a partnered effort to develop open-source MHK point designs as reference models (RMs) to benchmark MHK technology performance and costs, and an open-source methodology for design and analysis of MHK technologies, including models for estimating their capital costs, operational costs, and levelized costs of energy. The point designs also served as open-source test articles for university researchers and commercial technology developers. The RMP project team, led by Sandia National Laboratories (SNL), included a partnership between DOE, three national laboratories, including the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), the Applied Research Laboratory of Penn State University, and Re Vision Consulting.

Reference Model 4 (RM4) is a ?flying-wing? ocean current turbine concept intended for deployment in the Gulf Stream off the southeast coast of Florida. The RM4 device has four rotors, with a rotorless center nacelle housing the power electronics, attached on a straight wing 120 m long. The device is designed to be submerged ~50 m below the surface and is moored to the seabed. The RM4 uses buoyancy within the wing and the five nacelles to maintain its position in the water column. Each rotor has a diameter of 33 m and has a 1-MW power rating, yielding a total device rated power of 4 MW. The rotors on the left and right side of the wing rotate in opposite directions in order to balance the torque applied to the device. The rotorless center nacelle housing the power electronics serves to condition the power generated by the rotors before it is delivered to the grid.

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Additional Info

DOE Project Name: Reference Model Project
DOE Project Number: FY13 AOP
DOE Project Lead: Jeff Rieks
Last Updated: 3 months ago
Data from September, 2014
Submission in progress


Sandia National Laboratories


In progress License 


Vince Neary
Sandia National Laboratories


MHK, Marine, Hydrokinetic, energy, power, ocean current, RM4, reference model


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