Hydrodynamic analysis of a vertical axis tidal current turbine
Gretton, Gareth I.
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Tidal currents can be used as a predictable source of sustainable energy, and have the potential to make a useful contribution to the energy needs of the UK and other countries with such a resource. One of the technologies which may be used to transform tidal power into mechanical power is a vertical axis turbine, the hydrodynamic analysis of which this thesis is concerned with. The aim of this analysis is to gain a better understanding of the power transformation process, from which position there is the possibility of improving the conversion efficiency. A second aim is to compare the results from different modelling approaches. Two types of mathematical modelling are used: a basic blade element momentum model and a more complex Reynolds-averaged Navier Stokes (RANS) model. The former model has been programmed in Matlab by the present author while the latter model uses a commercial computational fluid dynamics (CFD) code, ANSYS CFX. This RANS model uses the SST k-! turbulence model. The CFD analysis of hydrofoils (equally airfoils), for both fixed and oscillating pitch conditions, is a significant proportion of the present work. Such analysis is used as part of the verification and validation of the CFD model of the turbine. It is also used as input to the blade element momentum model, thereby permitting a novel comparison between the blade element momentum model and the CFD model of the turbine. Both types of turbine model were used to explore the variation in turbine efficiency (and other factors) with tip speed ratio and with and without an angle of attack limiting variable pitch strategy. It is shown that the use of such a variable pitch strategy both increases the peak efficiency and broadens the peak. The comparison of the results from the two different turbine modelling approaches shows that when the present CFD hydrofoil results are used as input to the blade element model, and when dynamic effects are small and the turbine induction factor is low, there is generally good agreement between the two models.