Torque Control of a Laboratory Scale Variable Speed Hydrokinetic Tidal Turbine: CFD Simulation and Validation

Arturo Ortega, Anup Nambiar, David Ingram, Danny Sale

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract / Description of output

Hydrokinetic tidal turbines are a promising alternative for the generation of clean electrical energy. They are still far behind, with respect to their technological development, in comparison to offshore wind turbines, which are currently in the stage of commercial energy production. Thus, more studies and analyses of the behaviour of tidal devices and their interaction with the surrounding ocean space are required. How this interaction is interrelated to the power production system is also necessary to be further examined. In this paper, the development of a whole system, fully-coupled model of a laboratory-scale hydrokinetic tidal turbine, along with its interactions with the ocean environment and its electrical control system is described. The model was developed in fastFlume (SOWFA, NREL) coupled with an external torque control system. The control system is developed from the optimal torque speed curve based Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) algorithm. The optimal torque speed curve of the turbine used in the model was obtained from experimental work in a test tank. The hydrokinetic tidal turbine and the control system models were implemented independently. They were coupled in order to reach an energy balance between the surrounding flow, the tidal turbine, and the control system. Three flow stream velocities were imposed in the inlet of the model domain, starting the rotor from zero rotational speed. After the optimal rotational speed is attained, the electrical power generated and the loads experienced by the turbine rotor were studied. In the simulations, the tidal device is controlled to keep the optimal power production for any flow stream velocity. The results of the modelling work were compared with experimental measurements taken from 1:15th scaled testing of a fully-instrumented and controllable tidal device at the Flowave Ocean Energy Research Facility, The University of Edinburgh, a combined wave and current test facility. The results show time series of turbine and generator variables like mechanical and electrical torque and power, as well as thrust and the optimal rotational speed for each of the tested cases. The validation shows good agreement between the numerical and experimental results which encourages futures studies using the coupled model, including the turbine working in more complex flow conditions and controlled by more complex control schemes.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Conference on Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering
Subtitle of host publicationVolume 9: Ocean Renewable Energy
PublisherAmerican Society of Mechanical Engineers(ASME)
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-7918-8441-6
Publication statusPublished - 18 Dec 2020
EventASME 2020 39th International Conference on Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering - Virtual, Online
Duration: 3 Aug 20207 Aug 2020


ConferenceASME 2020 39th International Conference on Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering


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