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Experimental and CFD analysis of the wake characteristics of tidal turbines

Gebreslassie, Mulualem G. and Sanchez, Stephanie O. and Tabor, Gavin R. and Belmont, Michael R. and Bruce, Tom and Payne, Gregory and Moon, Ian (2016) Experimental and CFD analysis of the wake characteristics of tidal turbines. International Journal of Marine Energy, 16. pp. 209-219. ISSN 2214-1669

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This paper investigates the accuracy of the Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) based Immersed Body Force (IBF) turbine modelling method for predicting the flow characteristics of a Momentum-Reversal-Lift type of tidal turbine. This empirically-based CFD model has been developed based on the actuator disc method enhanced with additional features to mimic the effect of the complex blade motion on the downstream wake, without the high computational costs of explicitly modelling the dynamic blade motion. The model has been calibrated against the flow characteristics data obtained from experiment and found to perform well, although there are few inconsistencies in the flow patterns which show some of the limitations of the IBF model compared to a full dynamic blade motion simulation. However, given the complexity and computational cost of modelling the detailed blade motion the limitations of the IBF model are acceptable and will be useful especially for optimisation of arrays of devices where there is a significant computational demand.