Hydrodynamic modelling for structural analysis of tidal stream turbine blades
Allsop, Steven Christopher
Date: 12 June 2018
University of Exeter
EngD in Offshore Renewable Energy
The predictable nature of the tides offers a regular, reliable source of renewable energy that can be harnessed using tidal stream turbines (TSTs). The UK's practically extractable tidal stream energy resource has the potential to supply around 7 % of the country's annual electricity demand. As of 2016, the world's first commercial ...
The predictable nature of the tides offers a regular, reliable source of renewable energy that can be harnessed using tidal stream turbines (TSTs). The UK's practically extractable tidal stream energy resource has the potential to supply around 7 % of the country's annual electricity demand. As of 2016, the world's first commercial scale arrays have been deployed around the UK and France. The harsh nature of the marine operating environment poses a number of engineering challenges, where the optimal turbine design solution remains under investigation. In this thesis, a numerical model is developed to assess the power production and hydrodynamic behaviour of horizontal axis tidal turbines. The developed model builds upon well established and computationally efficient Blade Element Momentum Theory (BEMT) method for modern three-bladed wind turbines. The main novel contribution of this thesis is extending the application to an alternative design of a ducted, high solidity and open centre TST. A validation study using measurements from multiple different scale model experimental tank tests has proven the applicability of the model and suitability of the imposed correction factors. The analytical modifications to account for ducted flow were subsequently indirectly verified, where predictions of turbine power and axial thrust forces under optimal operating speeds were within 2 % of those using more advanced computational fluid dynamics (CFD) methods. This thesis presents a commercial application case of two turbines designed by OpenHydro, examining the BEMT performance with a sophisticated blade resolved CFD study. A comparison of results finds that the model is capable of predicting the average peak power to within 12 %, however it under predicts thrust levels by an average of 35 %. This study concludes that the model is applicable to ducted turbine configurations, but is limited in capturing the complex flow interactions towards the open centre, which requires further investigation. The computational efficiency of the newly developed model allowed a structural analysis of the composite blades, thus demonstrating it is suitable to effectively evaluate engineering applications. Stresses are seen to be dominated by flap-wise bending moments, which peak at the mid-length of the blade. This tool will further enable EDF to perform third party assessments of the different turbine designs, to aid decision making for future projects.
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