Hydropower is one of the oldest renewal energy source humankind has been using for electricity generation and until 2019, it was the largest source of the total annual U.S. renewal electricity generation. Although hydropower is a reliable source of the renewal energy, they can impact the environment and ecosystems.  In our research group, we work on re-imagining the design of hydro-turbines and hydro-pumps to make them environment-friendly by protecting bank from erosion, facilitating sediment passage, and making them fish-friendly yet efficient. We carry out numerical simulations and work in collaboration with experimentalists.  We were recently awarded a patent (US Patent No. 10502178: Michele Guala, Jeffrey Marr, Lian Shen) for a vertical-axis hydro-power system in collaboration with our colleagues at St. Anthony Falls Laboratory. The following are two examples of hydro-turbine simulations carried out in our group.  The first example is a drag-type vertical axis hydrokinetic turbine in an open channel flows.  The second example is simulation of a hydro-pump and its interaction with fish.

Video file
Fish-friendly turbine


Selected Publications:

  • Kan, K., Yang, Z., Lyu, P., Zheng, Y. & Shen, L. (2021), “Numerical study of turbulence flow past a rotating axial-flow pump based on a level-set immersed boundary method,” Renewable Energy, Vol. 168, 960-971.
  • Li, Z., Ghia, K., Li, Y., Fan, S. & Shen, L. (2021), “Unsteady Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes investigation of free surface wave impact on tidal turbine wake,” Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, Vol. 477, 20200703.
  • Yang, D., He, S., Shen, L. & Luo, X. (2021), “Large eddy simulation coupled with immersed boundary method for turbulent flows over a backward facing step,” Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part C: Journal of Mechanical Engineering Science, Vol. 235(15), 2705-2714.
  • Zi, D., Wang, F., Wang, C., Huang, C. & Shen, L. (2021), “Investigation on the air-core vortex in a vertical hydraulic intake system,” Renewable Energy, Vol. 177, 1333-1345.
  • Lee, J., Musa, M., Feist, C., Gao, J., Shen, L. & Guala, M. (2019), “Wake characteristics and power performance of newly introduced drag-driven vertical axis hydrokinetic turbine,” Energies, Vol. 12, 361.
  • US Patent No. 10502178.  In-bank vertical axis hydropower system.  Michele Guala, Jeffrey Marr, Lian Shen.