I created a concept offshore pumped storage hydro system using the open sea, pipelines and concrete vessels to simulate the upper/lower reservoirs and conduit of an onshore scheme, where the natural slope of the seabed would act as the head. I designed the concept and how it would all be installed/set up to show that it is technically feasible, while also assessing the economic feasibility ie capital/operational costs and revenue.

While writing my discussion however I came across Torricelli's law, which essentially negates the need of the piping from the surface as the system would perform in the same manner at a reduced cost. I don't really know where to go from here because it means that the majority of my methodology isn't required, and the economic justification would be completely changed as well due to the removal of all the materials/installation costs.

Do I include this in the discussion and just admit that the concept has it's flaws, then list what could be done in the future work? It's due soon so kind of freaking out right now after spending so long designing and justifying it.

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    According to Wikipedia: The law was discovered (though not in this form) by the Italian scientist Evangelista Torricelli, in 1643. It seems like you have a serious problem if you missed something nearly 400 years old. – Buffy May 15 at 18:49
  • @Buffy Yep, I don't know how I missed it, I was so focused on the technical aspects of pumped hydro systems, while considering all the problems with regards to subsea pressure in pipes etc. The system does work as intended, but could be achieved a lot easier is the problem. – Kuriosity May 15 at 18:56
  • @Buffy Aside from mentioning the shortfalls in my discussion, the only other thing I can think of doing is choosing a site and assessing the implementation of the new system (without the piping), would take a considerable amount of work over the next two weeks but I have some research that I didn't use that is applicable regarding site location etc – Kuriosity May 15 at 19:06
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    Have you asked your supervisor? What did they say? – astronat May 15 at 20:58
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    Is there any scenario (even contrived) where piping from the surface might be needed? In a non-homogeneous liquid, for example? – cag51 May 15 at 23:46

Torricelli's law/theorem is not an engineering law (which could be interpreted as having some legal aspects); it is a fundamental result from the physics of fluid flow. The closely related theorems of Torricelli and Bernoulli are useful starting points for engineering work, but nothing more, since they are highly idealized and involve many assumptions. These assumptions have to do with compressibility of the fluid, friction during flow, wetting of the pipe walls etc.

Since you're doing experimental work, you can actually investigate how much these factors actually affect the intended use and therefore establish how adequate the theoretical law is. If you focus on it from this perspective, I think your results can be valuable.

  • Is there some disagreement on technical grounds? – AppliedAcademic May 16 at 8:15

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