Characterisation of Tidal Flows at the European Marine Energy Centre in the Absence of Ocean Waves

Brian Sellar (Lead Author), Vengatesan Venugopal, David Ingram, Gareth Wakelam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The data analyses and results presented here are based on the field measurement campaign of the Reliable Data Acquisition Platform for Tidal (ReDAPT) project (Energy Technologies Institute (ETI), U.K. 2010–2015). During ReDAPT, a 1 MW commercial prototype tidal turbine was deployed and operated at the Fall of Warness tidal test site within the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), Orkney, U.K. Mean flow speeds and Turbulence Intensity (TI) at multiple positions proximal to the machine are considered. Through the implemented wave identification techniques, the dataset can be filtered into conditions where the effects of waves are present or absent. Due to the volume of results, only flow conditions in the absence of waves are reported here. The analysis shows that TI and mean flows are found to vary considerably between flood and ebb tides whilst exhibiting sensitivity to the tidal phase and to the specification of spatial averaging and velocity binning. The principal measurement technique was acoustic Doppler profiling provided by seabed-mounted Diverging-beam Acoustic Doppler Profilers (D-ADP) together with remotely-operable Single-Beam Acoustic Doppler Profilers (SB-ADP) installed at mid-depth on the tidal turbine. This novel configuration allows inter-instrument comparisons, which were conducted. Turbulence intensity averaged over the rotor extents of the ReDAPT turbine for flood tides vary between 16.7% at flow speeds above 0.3 m/s and 11.7% when considering only flow speeds in the turbine operating speed range, which reduces to 10.9% (6.8% relative reduction) following the implementation of noise correction techniques. Equivalent values for ebb tides are 14.7%, 10.1% and 9.3% (7.9% relative reduction). For flood and ebb tides, TI values resulting from noise correction are reduced in absolute terms by 3% and 2% respectively across a wide velocity range and approximately 1% for turbine operating speeds. Through comparison with SB-ADP-derived mid-depth TI values, this correction is shown to be conservative since uncorrected SB-ADP results remain, in relative terms, between 10% and 21% below corrected D-ADP values depending on tidal direction and the range of velocities considered. Results derived from other regions of the water column, those important to floating turbine devices for example, are reported for comparison.
Original languageEnglish
Article number176
Number of pages23
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jan 2018


  • Tidal energy
  • Metocean
  • ReDAPT
  • Tidal
  • ADCP
  • D-ADP
  • Turbulence Intensity
  • EMEC
  • European Marine Energy Centre
  • FloWTurb
  • Met-ocean
  • Site characterisation
  • Resource Characterisation

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Characterisation of Tidal Flows at the European Marine Energy Centre in the Absence of Ocean Waves'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this