Validation of tidal turbine wake simulations using an open regional-scale 3D model against 1MW machine and site measurements

Mohammed A. Almoghayer, Raymond Lam*, Brian Sellar, Chris Old, David K. Woolf

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Full-scale tidal turbines deployed in tidal channels are subjected to complex flow due to the effects of local bathymetry and coastline shape which modify the flow directionality, shear, twist and speed of the underlying tidally forced flow. In response to these effects, the wake of an operational tidal turbine will vary spatially and temporally. In order to predict wake form, which is a key step for scaling up tidal energy as developments move from single devices to arrays, we have developed and demonstrated an open source turbine-embedded regional three-dimensional (3D) hydrodynamic model for power and wake prediction. Simulation outputs have been validated against in-situ measurements acquired via ADCPs positioned downstream of and adjacent to the rotor-plane of an operating tidal turbine. Model predictive performance is parameterised by the relative difference between modelled and measured power-weighted rotor averaged velocity using speed binning and temporal-averaging. In the absence of the turbine representation, the difference between model and measurement for ebb and flood was found to be 0.81% and 1.04% respectively at the flow speed of 2.5 m/s. With the turbine represented as an actuator disc in the model, the averaged error of the velocity profiles in the wake is 4.4% and 5.2% at ADCP locations that are 3.7D and 6.2D downstream of the rotor plane during ebb. The model has been designed for use on moderately-priced workstations and the promising results, in terms of capturing key 3D flow features and predictions of wake velocity deficits, is a starting point for further development and may provide baseline data for alternative (e.g., higher fidelity, slower performance, or lower fidelity including 2D models with much faster performance).
Original languageEnglish
Article number117402
JournalOcean Engineering
Early online date7 Mar 2024
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2024

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Regional hydrodynamic model
  • Telemac3D
  • Wake modelling
  • Tidal turbine wake
  • Acoustic doppler current profiler
  • Field measurements
  • Model validation


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