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Seminar: Chris Vermillion – NCSU Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

November 13, 2019 @ 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm

Photo of guest speaker Chris Vermillion. CORE Lab, Associate Professor, North Carolina State UniversityUNC-CH’s Department of Marine Sciences is proud to host a seminar by Chris Vermillion. This event is scheduled for Wednesday, November 13th, at 12:30 pm in room G201 on the ground floor of Murray/Venable Hall at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This seminar will also be broadcast live to seminar room 222 at the Institute of Marine Sciences (IMS) in Morehead City, NC and online via Zoom (Meeting ID: 222-273-711).

Presenter Affiliation: CORE Lab; Associate Professor, North Carolina State University

Title: Motion in the Ocean – Revolutionizing Marine Hydrokinetic Energy Harvesting Through the Design and Optimal Periodic Motion Control of Ocean Kites

Abstract: Tidal and ocean current resources in the United States have been estimated to contain 438 TWh/year and 163 TWh/year, respectively, of extractable hydrokinetic energy. This collectively comprises more than 10 percent of the annual U.S. energy consumption. The extraction of marine hydrokinetic energy in a 1 m/s flow speed through a fixed turbine requires approximately the same geometric sizing per unit of power as a wind turbine operating in a 10 m/s wind speed. Unfortunately, complications associated with the operation of large rotating machinery underwater, along with foundation costs, installation costs, and power takeoff and transmission costs, result in dramatically higher capital costs for underwater systems, when compared to similarly-sized wind energy counterparts. This talk will examine the use of ocean kites as a game-changing solution for extracting ocean current and tidal resources. Compared with a fixed turbine design, the proposed kite design eliminates massive rotating underwater machinery and in fact will reduce the size and mass per unit power of the underwater system by more than an order of magnitude. The key innovations in this technology are twofold: First, a high-lift rigid kite is flown in high-speed cross-current orbits at favorable depths. Second, over the course of operation, the kite transitions between high-tension spool-out motion and low-tension spool-in motion, generating significant net positive energy at the location of the winch (either on a floating or seabed platform). This seminar will overview an initial kite design, along with periodic motion control strategies that are used to optimize both the cross-current flight path and spooling strategy. The talk will also highlight ongoing experimental research that is being used to validate dynamic models and control strategies for a prototype ocean kite design, which will ultimately culminate with tow testing of a 1/10-scale design.

Bio: Chris Vermillion received his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Michigan in 2009 and received his undergraduate degrees in Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan in 2004. Immediately following his Ph.D. work, Dr. Vermillion worked on advanced automotive powertrain control, focusing on constrained optimal control approaches that simultaneously addressed the competing performance interests of fuel economy, emissions, drivability, and torque delivery. Subsequently he served as a Lead Engineer for Altaeros Energies and managed all of the dynamic modeling, control system design, software development, and embedded hardware development for Altaeros’ lighter-than-air wind energy system. Dr. Vermillion has participated in the full-scale fight testing of two of Altaeros’ designs. Dr. Vermillion is currently an Associate Professor at NC State, where his research focuses on the dynamic characterization, design optimization, and optimal control of airborne wind energy systems, marine hydrokinetic energy systems, and energy-efficient connected and autonomous vehicles. Dr. Vermillion was the recipient of the National Science Foundation’s CAREER Award in 2015, the UNC-Charlotte Maxheim Research Fellowship in 2016, and the UNC-Charlotte College of Engineering Excellence in Teaching Award in 2017.


November 13, 2019
12:30 pm - 1:30 pm
Event Category:



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