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Renewable Energy Advances Powered by US Synthetic Bearings
US Department of Energy provides grant to US Synthetic Bearings to explore advantages of synthetic diamond bearings in harsh underwater conditions for power generation.
Orem, UT -- March 2, 2011 – US Synthetic Corporation, a Dover Company (NYSE: DOV) and the leading provider of polycrystalline diamond cutters for oil and gas exploration, announced today that its bearings division was awarded a grant of $186,000 by the US Department of Energy. The joint effort is geared to investigate whether polycrystalline diamond (PCD) thrust bearings will have a wide spread role in the DOE’s renewable energy program by enabling underwater turbine generators, known as marine hydrokinetic (MHK) energy machines.
US Synthetic Bearings will use its Orem, Utah testing facility to measure the effects of water lubrication on PCD bearings intended for use in MHK energy machines. MHK manufacturers, like New Energy Corporation, can then utilize the benefits of PCD bearings in their hydrokinetic power generation systems.
"We are one of the few companies in the world that has a water-to-wire hydrokinetic power generation system," explained Bob Moll, vice president of business development at New Energy Corporation, which designs and manufactures MHKs. "We've worked hard to take innovative thinking in hydroelectric generation and bring new technology to the market. Working with US Synthetic Bearings and their diamond bearing technology is another step in incorporating new and innovative technology into the power generation industry."
MHK energy machines rely on underwater currents to spin turbines, creating electricity. While a few exist in Europe and North America, the technology is still mostly experimental as researchers try new ways to reduce downtime and maintenance costs. One major obstacle is inadequate bearing technology. There is no conventional bearing technology capable of operating with variable loads, in seawater, with frequent starts and stops and with little or no maintenance while absolutely eliminating the possibility of oil pollution into the water.
US Synthetic believes PCD bearings have the potential to overcome these challenges, making MHKs an economically viable and sustainable renewable energy source. An MHK with PCD bearings has no seals, accommodates variable loads from tides without bearing failure, and cannot contaminate the seawater with oil—since seawater is the bearing lubricant.
“We believe synthetic diamond has tremendous potential as an engineering material,” said Craig Cooley, General Manager of US Synthetic Bearings. “We hope that demonstrating the effectiveness of PCD bearings in MHKs will expose other members of the scientific and engineering community to the advantages of using this material. Synthetic diamond is key where hardness, thermal conductivity, strength, toughness, and abrasion resistance are required.”
US Synthetic Radial and Thrust Bearings have a proven record in other harsh applications, such as drilling tools used for drilling oil and gas wells where bearing life has been significantly extended and drilling tool reliability improved.
US Synthetic Bearings will pay 20 percent of the research costs, using its own qualified technicians, and consulting with Louisiana State University Professor Michael Khonsari, Ph.D. Tests are expected to last a year, and will involve a variety of thrust bearings.
About US Synthetic Bearings
US Synthetic, a Dover Company (NYSE: DOV), is the leading provider of polycrystalline diamond cutters (PDCs) and diamond bearing technology for the energy industry and oil and gas exploration. Thanks to constant innovation, proven quality, and superior customer service, more of the world's energy suppliers rely on US Synthetic than any other PDC manufacturer. US Synthetic has spent more than a decade perfecting its products to last longer—especially in tough conditions that test the limits of the most durable energy exploration and drilling equipment. USS Bearings is a division of US Synthetic. For more information about US Synthetic and US Synthetic Bearings, visit http://www.ussbearings.com.
About New Energy
New Energy Corporation Inc. is a manufacturer of in-stream hydrokinetic power generation system. The company's proprietary EnCurrent Turbines convert kinetic energy in water currents into electricity the same way in which wind turbines convert the kinetic energy in wind into electricity. The EnCurrent Turbine is an economical hydroelectric generating product that has an extremely small environmental footprint and can be used in a large variety of settings where traditional hydroelectric plants are not practical or possible. The system can be installed in tidal currents in addition to freshwater applications such as rivers and canals. For more information about New Energy Corp, please see their web site at www.newenergycorp.ca.