Hydrokinetic turbine manufacturer Hydrovolts has announced it will team up with students from the Harvard College Engineering Society (HCES) to produce a variety of small floating turbines for uses in canals and the ocean, in a project supported by the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and Constitution Marina in Boston Harbor.

Hydrovolts has a development agreement with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and demonstrated its prototype Flipwing turbine there in June 2010. The first Harvard student project is to develop a new turbine for WHOI that will make marine renewable energy for remote instruments deep in the ocean. These instruments are now powered by batteries, and changing the batteries is very expensive.

“This will be one of SEAS’ signature projects demonstrating our commitment to practical engineering education and industry exposure for our students,” said Robert Howe, Abbott and James Lawrence Professor of Engineering and Associate Dean for Academic Programs at SEAS. “It is exciting to learn of the potential impact that this project may bring about in reducing the cost of replacing batteries in such remote areas.”

Barry Griffin, a Harvard alum who is serving as a lecturer at SEAS, will coordinate and help the student engineers design, build, install and measure hydrokinetic turbines that make renewable energy from fast water currents around New England. “This is a practical engineering project with high commercial value,” said Griffin. “Even little Hydrovolts turbines can make enough power for batteries if they are in a fast water current.”