The PAX Rotor

The PAX Rotor is being jointly developed by PAX Scientific and Real NewEnergy. Jayden Harman, co-founder and CEO of PAX Scientific, is the original inventor of the design and will be the lead engineer for the project. Jay is globally renowned for his expertise in the field of biomimicry and has realized considerable success by applying these techniques to water applications. PAX Scientific has a business model of conducting scientific research and developing intellectual property in order to then establish subsidiaries or joint venture companies to develop and market products for particular markets. The team at PAX Scientific consists of 10 dedicated staff members with strong scientific and intellectual property backgrounds. 

Market Opportunity:

Marine hydrokinetic (MHK) energy is a promising clean energy resource for river and tidal locations if the technology can be deployed reliably and affordably. As with most new technologies, reaching the necessary scale to reduce cost is one of the greatest hurdles to overcome. This problem is exacerbated by the lack of viable sites which are often limited by depth constraints and debris concerns. In-river MHK generation has the advantage over wave energy converters for a variety of reasons including:

  • More predictable resource with full load hours in excess of 5000 hours
  • Rivers are typically located near high concentrations of potential end-users, reducing the need for extensive (subsea) cabling
  • Installation and maintenance is much more affordable as simple barges and cranes can deploy and decommission the system

PAX and RNE aim to market the PAX Rotor in two distinctly different but related markets. First there is the market of existing MHK turbine manufacturers like Verdant and Tocardo. Secondly, the design is excellent for robust, simple and low cost micro hydro turbines in developing nations and remote areas. In that case, the rotor is a key component of a system that could cost less than $1000/kW to deploy. Please read more about BladeRunner.

Technology/Innovation:

PAX Rotor CFD

The PAX Rotor concept is based on biomimicry and should result in the ability to harness more hydrokinetic energy in 40-60% shallower waters than conventional horizontal axis MHK rotors. The resultant shape of the PAX Rotor causes the turbine to convert energy from a longer stretch of flowing water, leading to power increase, efficiency gains and the ability to operate in water depths up to 60% shallower than conventional horizontal axis MHK rotors.

The Rotor’s streamlined shape should also lead to excellent debris handling properties, non-fouling characteristics and non-cavitation properties, supporting a path towards higher capacity factors, reduced maintenance and repair costs and increased up-time. It is well understood that water resources differ greatly among potential sites and that certain technologies and components will be less suited to handling frequently changing conditions. The PAX Rotor’s biomimetic properties should result in the ability to establish equilibrium in the area of greatest flow, allowing it to thrive in a variety of water conditions with diverse deployment solutions.

A 60% increase in power output and/or the ability to deploy MHK turbines in 60% shallower locations would be a game-changer for the industry as economies of scale could be reached by many more MHK developers, leading to great reductions in capital costs. The advanced debris-handling properties will also help developers in certain deployment regions, such as the Mississippi River and Alaska.