Comparison of synthetic turbulence approaches for blade element momentum theory prediction of tidal turbine performance and loads

Type Article
Date 2020-01
Language English
Author(s) Togneri Michael1, Pinon Grégory2, Carlier Clement3, Choma Bex Camille3, Masters Ian1
Affiliation(s) 1 : College of Engineering, Swansea University, Singleton Park, Swansea, SA2 8PP, UK
2 : Normandie Université, UNIHAVRE, CNRS, LOMC, 7600, Le Havre, France
3 : IFREMER, 150 Quai Gambetta, 62200, Boulogne s/ Mer, France
Source Renewable Energy (0960-1481) (Elsevier BV), 2020-01 , Vol. 145 , P. 408-418
DOI 10.1016/j.renene.2019.05.110
WOS© Times Cited 19
Keyword(s) BEMT, SEM, Sandia, Tidal turbines, Turbulence, Simulation

Turbulence is a crucial flow phenomenon for tidal energy converters (TECs), as it influences both the peak loads they experience and their fatigue life. To best mitigate its effects we must understand both turbulence itself and how it induces loads on TECs. To that end, this paper presents the results of blade element momentum theory (BEMT) simulations of flume-scale TEC models subjected to synthetic turbulent flows. Synthetic turbulence methods produce three-dimensional flowfields from limited data, without solving the equations governing fluid motion. These flowfields are non-physical, but match key statistical properties of real turbulence and are much quicker and computationally cheaper to produce. This study employs two synthetic turbulence generation methods: the synthetic eddy method and the spectral Sandia method. The response of the TECs to the synthetic turbulence is predicted using a robust BEMT model, modified from the classical formulation of BEMT. We show that, for the cases investigated, TEC load variability is lower in stall operation than at higher tip speed ratios. The variability of turbine loads has a straightforward relationship to the turbulence intensity of the inflow. Spectral properties of the velocity field are not fully reflected in the spectra of TEC loads.

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