Re-creating waves in large currents for tidal energy applications

Sam Draycott* (Lead Author), Duncan Sutherland, Jeffrey Steynor, Brian Sellar, Vengatesan Venugopal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Unsteady wave loading on tidal turbines impacts significantly the design, and expected life-time, of turbine blades and other key components. Model-scale testing of tidal turbines in the wave-current environment can provide vital understanding by emulating real-world load cases; however, to reduce uncertainty, it is important to isolate laboratory-specific artefacts from real-world behaviour. In this paper, a variety of realistic combined current-wave scenarios is re-created at the FloWave basin, where the main objective is to understand the characteristics of testing in a combined wave-current environment and assess whether wave effects on the flow field can be predicted. Here, we show that a combination of linear wave-current theory and frequency-domain reflection analysis can be used to effectively predict wave-induced particle velocities and identify velocity components that are experimental artefacts. Load-specific mechanisms present in real-world conditions can therefore be isolated, and equivalent full-scale load cases can be estimated with greater confidence. At higher flow speeds, a divergence from the theory presented is observed due to turbulence-induced non-stationarity. The methodology and results presented increase learning about the wave-current testing environment and provide analysis tools able to improve test outputs and conclusions from scale model testing.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1838
Number of pages24
JournalEnergies
Volume10
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2017

Keywords

  • Tank testing
  • Tidal energy
  • Wave orbitals
  • Wave reflection analysis
  • Wave-current interaction

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