In various exemplary embodiments, one or more of the sets of cooperating bearing mechanisms may be replaced with a magnet/conductive coil pair configured to generate electricity by movement of the rotatable structure relative to the stationary structure. The number, shape, spacing, size, magnetic field strength, displacement and other properties of the bearing mechanisms 455 and 460 may be selected based on various factors such as the size and weight of the rotatable and stationary structures 410, 420, the required restoring and bearing forces, and other factors based on the desired application. Cooperating sets of bearing mechanisms are labeled collectively as 5 for simplicity.
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In the case where one or more sets of bearing mechanisms are configured to achieve magnetic levitation, such sets of bearing mechanisms may be configured to achieve both magnetic levitation and electricity generation. The bearing mechanisms 435 and 440 may comprise various Halbach type arrays configured to achieve magnetic repulsion as would be understood by those ordinarily skilled in art and those described above are exemplary only. To provide an axial restoring force between the rotatable structure and the stationary structure (i.e., to offset axial flow thrust forces), magnetic bearing mechanisms in various exemplary embodiments in accordance with the present teaching may comprise a plurality of magnets arranged in a Halbach type array.
In accordance with an exemplary embodiment, the present teachings contemplate an energy conversion system that may include a stationary structure, and a rotatable structure configured to rotate relative to the stationary structure, wherein the rotatable structure defines an axis of rotation. For example, a length of the blade member extending radially outwardly may be longer than a length of the blade member extending radially inwardly; alternatively, the blade members extending radially outward and the radial inward may be symmetrical about the rotatable structure. The rotational movement caused by interaction of fluid currents with the blade members 430 may be converted to another form of energy, such as, for example, electricity and/or hydrogen production utilizing, for example, a generator magnet 417 and lamination stack/stator winding 418 (FIG. The system may be configured to convert rotation of the rotatable structure to at least one of electricity and hydrogen production.
18-73, at least one of the sets 5 of bearing mechanisms depicted may be replaced by an electricity generation mechanism in the form of a magnet/conductive coil pair; alternatively or in addition, one or more of the bearing mechanisms in each array forming the sets 5 may be a magnet/conductive coil pair. In comparison, FIG. 8 illustrates the magnetization field plot for a comparative magnetic bearing mechanism, which provides passive repulsion by directly aligning magnets with opposing magnetic fields (i.e., the arrows demonstrate the orientation of each magnet’s magnetic field). In exemplary embodiments of the present teachings, the length and size of the blades can vary greatly since they are mounted to a rotatable structure that is disposed at a distance from the center of rotation of the device which offers increased stability compared to a central shaft. 11, in various additional exemplary embodiments in accordance with the present teachings, magnetic bearing mechanisms 445 and 450 may be configured to permit the rotatable structure 410 to rotate relative to the stationary structure 420 in a substantially stable axial position (e.g., to provide an axial restoring support for the structures).