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Investigation into Contact and Hydrostatic Bearings for use in Direct Drive Linear Generators in Submerged Wave Energy

Date: November 04, 2013 at 17:02 GMT

The design of a bearing system for a linear generator within a submerged wave energy converter will be based on survivability and low maintenance needs. Optimising these electrical generators involves finding materials and adaptating construction to suit their environment without compromising efficiency. Therefore integrating the bearing systems to run reliably and at a low power demand will also require adaptations. This requirement will ultimately be scaled in terms of cost: cost of downtime, cost of replacement, cost of maintenance. 

Research into commercial marine bearings shows we have the materials for operation in these harsh conditions. Using a hydrostatic bearing within the generator could be advantageous but the running clearances are extremely small. The machining methods employed to provide them would greatly increase the production cost. Maintaining such clearances over 10m of translator also poses problems. This work aims to combine the use of water suitable materials within contact bearing designs specifically for an offshore direct drive linear generator. Comparisons are made between these contact bearings and water fed hydrostatic bearings. 

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