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Reducing the cost of testing and developing the design of tidal turbines
Group Members
Adrian Fernando, Fanny Marie Fresneda, James Lamyman, Archie Marshall, Oliver Siederer, John Smith
Dr Joseph Banks, Dr Luke Myers
Dr Penny Jeffcoate – Sustainable Marine Energy, Claire Cardy - Nortek
This project designed an experimental rig for use in a towing tank to test tidal turbines in real-world conditions at a fraction of the cost of current testing methods, allowing for potential increased performance and durability of tidal energy systems.

With renewable energy becoming a solution to a sustainable future, great steps are being taken to reduce the cost of each unit of electricity over the lifetime of the technology. This project focuses on achieving this, by reducing the costs of testing scale tidal turbines in real world conditions. This was achieved by designing and building a turbulence generating rig which was placed in front of a scale model of a tidal turbine in a towing tank.

Feedback from industrial partners led us to look at a rig that can create different flow conditions in in front of a turbine, focusing the flow features we created to being the scale of a turbines diameter so that they can test the effect these conditions that are seen in the real-world have on their systems. To do this, a combination of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and small to large scale experimental testing, from miniature flumes to full scale towing tanks, were used throughout the design process. The reason for this process was to build up the scale and characterisation of the flow created to minimise time in the towing tank. The result was a unique rig that can create greater flow features than have ever been seen before on a towing tank, with great adaptability in the exact properties of these flows.
Full assembly of stage 3 test rig (side-on).
Full assembly of stage 3 test rig (head-on).
Prototype testing in the towing tank.