Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Experimental Studies of Turbulence Intensity around a Tidal Turbine Support Structure

Version 1 : Received: 27 February 2017 / Approved: 28 February 2017 / Online: 28 February 2017 (11:55:00 CET)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Walker, S.; Cappietti, L. Experimental Studies of Turbulent Intensity around a Tidal Turbine Support Structure. Energies 2017, 10, 497. Walker, S.; Cappietti, L. Experimental Studies of Turbulent Intensity around a Tidal Turbine Support Structure. Energies 2017, 10, 497.


Tidal stream energy is a low carbon energy source. Tidal stream turbines operate in a turbulent environment, and the effect of the structure between the turbine and seabed on this environment is not fully understood. An experimental study using 1:72 scale models based on a commercial turbine design was carried out to study the support structure influence on turbulence intensity around turbine blades. The study was conducted using the wave-current tank at LABIMA, University of Florence. A realistic flow environment (ambient turbulent intensity = 11%) was established. Turbulence intensity was measured upstream and downstream of a turbine mounted on two different support structures (one resembling a commercial design, the other the same with an additional vertical element), in order to quantify any variation in turbulence and performance between the support structures. Turbine drive power was used to calculate power generation. Acoustic Doppler Velocimetry was used to record and calculate upstream and downstream turbulence intensity. In otherwise identical conditions, performance variation of only 4% was observed between two support structures. Turbulent intensity at 1, 3 and 5 blade diameters, both upstream and downstream, showed variation up to 21% between the two cases. The additional turbulent structures generated by the additional element of the second support structure appears to cause this effect, and the upstream propagation of turbulent intensity is believed to be permitted by surface waves. This result is significant for the prediction of turbine array performance.


Marine Energy; Tidal turbine; horizontal-axis marine current turbine; OCT; Turbulence; Support Structure; device wake


Engineering, Energy and Fuel Technology

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