Characterisation of current and turbulence in the FloWave Ocean Energy Research Facility

Duncan R.J. Sutherland*, Donald R. Noble, Jeffrey Steynor, Thomas Davey, Tom Bruce

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Tidal energy is a developing industry and requires high precision test facilities which replicate the full-scale flows as accurately as possible to develop new technologies. In particular, the spatial and temporal variation must be well understood. FloWave is a state-of-the-art test facility with the ability to produce multi-directional waves and currents. This work investigates the mean and turbulent flow parameters throughout the tank using an ADV. The goal is to provide a comprehensive characterisation of the flow in the tank, in a robust and repeatable manner. These flow parameters are then compared to sample data from field measurements for context. The turbulence intensities are normally distributed in the range of 5–11% and integral lengthscales were log-normally distributed over a 0.18–0.41 m range across the test area. The Reynolds stresses showed the streamwise-vertical pair were relatively constant throughout the depth, with values in the range −0.31 to 0.15 Pa, while the transverse-vertical pair show high vertical variation with values of −1.35 to 0.20 Pa. For the majority of locations the flow metrics are generally realistic compared with those measured at the Fall of Warness site. This work improves the understanding of flow behaviour in the tank, facilitating higher confidence testing of scaled devices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-115
Number of pages13
JournalOcean Engineering
Early online date3 May 2017
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2017


  • Acoustic sensors
  • Physical testing
  • Renewable energy
  • Tidal energy
  • Turbulence
  • Wave-current basin


Dive into the research topics of 'Characterisation of current and turbulence in the FloWave Ocean Energy Research Facility'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this