Numerical modeling of tidal turbine behaviour under real turbulent tidal flow conditions

Principal Investigator:

Dr. Dominic Groulx, Dalhousie University

Start Date: December 2015

End Date: December 2016

The research team will investigate and numerically quantify the behaviour of a tidal turbine under real turbulent unsteady tidal flow, using real flow data taken experimentally in the lower Bay of Fundy (Digby area).  The expected outcomes will help tidal turbine manufacturers to more accurately estimate the amount of energy a given turbine will produce in a specific tidal site.

Previous studies have shown that most turbine developers, using steady (numerical, experimental) testing, might be overestimating their turbine power rating (Cp) by tens of percent – which will have an important impact on the overall financial assessment and economic viability of tidal development projects.

This project will model and study, using fully transient simulations, the turbulent flow over a generic 3-blade horizontal axis tidal turbine (HATT) subjected to real tidal flow inlet velocities to determine the actual turbine behaviour under real turbulent tidal flow conditions.  This numerical study will shed more light in lowering the turbine Cp and power production in a real tidal flow and provide additional insight into the wake dynamics, leading to a comparison of steady vs unsteady flow wakes encountered in real tidal flow environment.


Numerical modeling of tidal turbine behaviour under real turbulent tidal flow conditions – Final Report [PDF]

In association with the final report, please view the paper that was presented at the AWTEC conference in Singapore in October 2016 [PDF] 


LEROUX, T., OSBOURNE, N., McMILLAN, J.M., GROULX, D, HAY, A.E. (2016) Numerical Modelling of a Tidal Turbine Behaviour under Realistic Unsteady Tidal Flow, 3rd Asian Wave and Tidal Energy Conference Series (AWTEC), Singapore, 10 p. (Was awarded “Best Paper – 2nd Price” of the conference).