Harnessing the Power of Ocean Currents 11th Feburary 2020, University of Strathclyde

Industrial Insights into Tidal Stream Turbine Modelling

The movement of water around the earth from the tides has an incredible amount of associated energy. Tidal stream turbines operate by extracting a fraction of this renewable source of energy to generate electricity. Designing a turbine for this task is a significant technical challenge due to the need for high operating performance, survivability in an arduous environment and reliability for low maintenance in hard to reach places. This, whist maintaining economic competitiveness in a rapidly changing sector.

Fast tidal flows are advantageous due to the larger amounts of energy available for extraction, however, generate extremely large thrust forces which any design must be able to withstand. Superimposed on top are large and highly complex fluctuations in the flow, driven by a combination of waves, turbulence, sea bed viscosity and tower shadow. Hydrodynamic modelling of the turbine is a hugely important aspect for a technology developer, to simulate the various conditions the turbine will face. Different models are used for different stages in the technology development lifecycle. For instance: understanding the system behaviour and interactions with the environment; the testing of various configurations; the iteration of the design for optimised performance; investigating wake recovery and array spacing.

Fast running models, although somewhat limited, are practical for engineering assessments. Some important applications include: generating ultimate load states for subsystems design for survival; calculating fluctuating loads to assess fatigue damage of components; simulating faults to spec safety equipment; and producing time series to improve controller algorithms to smooth out power variations. This presentation will give a few brief insights into these applications, and discuss how methods could change in the future as the industry and computational models evolve.


Invited Speakers:

Dr Steve Allsop (EngD, Meng) - Simec Atlantis Energy

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Steve Allsop is a loads and modelling engineer for SIMEC Atlantis Energy within the Turbines and Engineering Services team in Bristol. He has a mechanical engineering background with 8 years’ industrial experience and an Engineering Doctorate from the Industrial Doctoral Centre for Offshore Renewable Energy (IDCORE), a consortium of the Universities of Edinburgh, Strathclyde and Exeter. His EngD was in partnership with EDF R&D, based at the French National Laboratory of Hydraulics and the Environment, and awarded by the University of Exeter in 2018. His research involved the numerical modelling of tidal stream turbines, developing industrial level tools for the hydrodynamic and structural analysis of blades. Following this, Steve completed a post doc with the Ecole des Ponts, ParisTech University looking at the dynamic stability of floating offshore wind platforms for vertical axis turbines, before joining Atlantis at the end of 2018.


Bodhi Sarkar (CEng MIMechE) - EC-OG

“Subsea Power Hub And Offshore Battery Systems”

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