Performance of non-uniform tidal turbine arrays in uniform flow

Paul Bonar, Thomas A. A. Adcock, Vengatesan Venugopal, Alistair Borthwick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Theoretical models suggest that in order to maximise their collective power output, tidal turbines should be arranged in a single cross-stream row and optimally spaced to exploit local blockage effects. However, because it is assumed that the turbines within these arrays are identical, such models do not consider the possibility of enhanced power production through the exploitation of spanwise variations in local blockage and resistance. In this paper, we use depth-averaged numerical simulations to investigate whether the performance of a tidal turbine array can be further enhanced by varying solely the local blockage, solely the local resistance, or both local blockage and resistance together, across the array width. Our results suggest that for an initially uniform flow field, the optimal tidal turbine array is also uniform, that is to say that it comprises turbines of equal size, spacing, and resistance. This finding is encouraging because it is more cost-effective and much simpler to design each turbine to be the same and to operate in the same way. Together with earlier findings, these results also suggest a more general, and perhaps unsurprising, conclusion that tidal turbine arrays perform best when designed to match site-specific natural flow conditions.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Ocean Engineering and Marine Energy
Early online date8 Aug 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 Aug 2018


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