Over 900 million people lack access to electricity globally. While solar energy has become a more widespread and affordable electricity source, the cost of batteries and inverters has made solar electricity access intermittent and dependent on sunlight cycles. Small scale hydroelectric power has the potential to provide 24/7 electricity access for people who lack grid electricity. Many hydroelectric turbines rely on mechanical seals to transfer rotation across a seal. These seals are prone to wear over time and are vulnerable to silt buildup. Typical turbines also require a gearbox to increase the speed or torque of the rotation. Traditional mechanical gearboxes are expensive and require regular maintenance. Through the use of a magnetic gearbox, rotation can be transferred through an air or water gap without the need for physical contact. The ratio of magnetic poles on each rotor acts similar to how teeth act on traditional mechanical gears. By adjusting the ratio of magnetic poles, an increase of speed or torque can be achieved. This novel turbine design effectively produces power while eliminating the need for both a mechanical seal and a gearbox.
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Gaviola, Ben, "Magnetically Geared Hydroelectric Turbine" (2022). Research Days Posters 2022. 20.