US Synthetic, a supplier of polycrystalline diamond cutters required for oil and gas exploration declared that the US Department of Energy has presented a grant of $186,000 to its bearing division.
The grant is for a joint endeavor to find out whether the polycrystalline diamond (PCD) thrust bearings used by the company in its gas and oil explorations can be deployed in the underwater clean energy program of DOE utilizing marine hydrokinetic (MHK) energy machines (underwater turbine generators).
US Synthetic Bearings will determine the effects of water coating over the PCD bearings, which are to be utilized in the MHK energy machines by using its test facility at Orem, Utah. The positive results will enable companies like New Energy, which manufactures MHK to utilize the benefits of PCD bearings in the hydrokinetic power productions systems manufactured by them. The MHK systems, which are still in the experimental stage in Europe and North America, depend on underwater currents to whirl the turbines and generate power. Most of such experimental systems are used to cut down the down time and the operational costs. The traditional bearing technology is incapable of coping with the erratic loads of under sea resulting in repeated start and stop operations and the nil oil contamination in to the water.
US Synthetic considers that its PCD bearings have the potency to get over the mentioned problems to make MHK a viable and long-lasting renewable energy source. The radial and thrust bearings manufactured by the company have endured the harsher environments in oil and gas drilling by extending the life of the bearings and improving the dependability of the drilling tools. An MHK incorporated with PCD requires no seals and survives different tide loads without causing bearing failure and will use sea water as lubricant.
US Synthetic Bearings will bear 20% of the research expenditure and will use its own competent technicians. It will consult Professor Michael Khonsari of Louisiana State University in its tests. The tests will utilize a mixture of thrust bearings and is anticipated to continue for a year.