Underwater energy harvesting from a turbine hosting ionic polymer metal composites

Filippo Cellini, Jason Pounds, Sean D. Peterson, Maurizio Porfiri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this study, we explore the possibility of energy harvesting from fluid flow through a turbine hosting ionic polymer metal composites (IPMCs). Specifically, IPMC harvesters are embedded in the blades of a small-scale vertical axis water turbine to convert flow kinetics into electrical power via low-frequency flow-induced IPMC deformations. An in-house fabricated Savonius-Darrieus hybrid active turbine with three IPMCs is tested in a laboratory water tunnel to estimate the energy harvesting capabilities of the device as a function of the shunting electrical load. The turbine is shown to harvest a few nanowatt from a mean flow of 0.43 m s?1 for shunting resistances in the range 100-1000 ω. To establish a first understanding of the energy harvesting device, we propose a quasi-static hydroelastic model for the bending of the IPMCs and we utilize a black-box model to study their electromechanical response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number085023
JournalSmart Materials and Structures
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2014


  • Savonius rotor
  • energy harvesting
  • fluid-structure interaction
  • hydrodynamics
  • hydroelastic coupling
  • ionic polymer metal composite

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Signal Processing
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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