R&D efforts are aimed at overcoming technical barriers related to wave and tidal technologies and to salinity gradient. The main focus is on wave behaviour and hydrodynamics of wave absorption; structure and hull design methods; mooring; power take-off systems; and deployment methods. Typical research on tidal stream current systems can be divided into basic research that focuses on areas such as water stream flow pattern and cavitations and into applied science, which would examine supporting structure design, turbines, foundations and deployment methods.
Research efforts on turbines and rotors will need to focus on cost-efficiency, reliability and ease of maintenance. Both components should be manufactured using materials designed to resist marine environments. Special attention should be given to bearings to ensure that they function safely and reliably in the marine environment. Control systems for turbine speed and rotor pitch will also be important to maximize power output. The main challenge for salinity gradient systems is to develop functioning and efficient membranes that can generate sufficient energy to make an energy system competitive.
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