Laboratory study of tidal turbine performance in irregular waves

Porter, Kate and Ordonez-Sanchez, Stephanie and Allmark, Matthew and Ellis, Robert and Lloyd, Catherine and O'Doherty, Tim and Johnstone, Cameron (2018) Laboratory study of tidal turbine performance in irregular waves. In: 4th Asian Wave and Tidal Energy Conference, 2018-09-09 - 2018-09-13.

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Wave loading on tidal turbines is of key concern for determining blade and drive train design loads and the fatigue life of components. Furthermore, irregular waveforms are likely to add complexity to the loading patterns, and represent more realistic conditions. To investigate this issue, a set of laboratory tests was conducted in a large wave-tow facility at CNR-INSEAN, Rome. A 0.9 m diameter three bladed horizontal axis turbine model was fixed to the tow carriage and tested under tow, regular wave-tow and irregular-wave-tow conditions at a range of turbine rotational velocities. Thrust and torque on the blades and rotor were measured dynamically during testing using strain gauges. The control mode was switched between constant speed and constant torque to understand how this influenced turbine power capture and thrust loading, and assess the potential to use control methods to mitigate loading fluctuations. It was found that average power and thrust values were not affected by the control mode or the addition of regular or irregular waves. However, using torque control resulted in increased thrust fluctuations per wave period of the order of 40% of the mean thrust compared to under speed control. Therefore, the operational mode must be taken into consideration.