The Hydrophobic Turbine project explored the hypothetical incorporation of organic material properties in hydro-turbine design with a view to improving energy output efficiency. The final turbine design drew inspiration from the Basking Shark, mimicking the layered openings found in the shark’s mouth. This design allowed water to pass through the turbine at different speeds, thereby creating an area of low pressure behind the turbine, which sucked the remaining water through at a greater speed.
The efficiency of the turbine was further increased by the incorporation of a hydrophobic surface reminiscent of Lotus leaves, which reduced the friction coefficient of the water hitting the turbine casing. Both these adaptations (alongside other design features not mentioned here) were tested using a 3D printed prototype and control rig. The results of these tests showed a 12% increase in the turbines efficiency.