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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Development of a procedure for power generated from a tidal current turbine farm Li, Ye


A tidal current turbine is a device functioning in a manner similar to wind turbine for harnessing energy from tidal currents, a group of which is called a farm. The existing approaches used to predict power from tidal current turbine farms oversimplify the hydrodynamic interactions between turbines, which significantly affects the results. The major focus of this dissertation is to study the relationship between turbine distribution (the relative position of the turbines) and the hydrodynamic interactions between turbines, and its impact on the power from a farm. A new formulation of the discrete vortex method (DVM-UBC) is proposed to describe the behavior of turbines and unsteady flow mathematically, and a numerical model is developed to predict the performance, the unsteady wake and acoustic emission of a stand-alone turbine using DVM-UBC. Good agreement is obtained between the results obtained with DVM-UBC and published numerical and experimental results. Then, another numerical model is developed to predict the performance, wake and acoustic emission of a two-turbine system using DVM-UBC. The results show that the power of a two-turbine system with optimal relative position is about 25% more than two times that of a stand-alone turbine under the same conditions. The torque such a system may fluctuate 50% less than that of a stand-alone turbine. The acoustic emission of such a system may be 35% less than that of a stand-alone turbine. As an extension, a numerical procedure is developed to estimate the efficiency of an N-turbine system by using a linear theory together with the two-turbine system model. By integrating above hydrodynamic models for predicting power and a newly-developed Operation and Maintenance (O&M) model for predicting the cost, a system model is framed to estimate the energy cost using a scenario-based cost-effectiveness analysis. This model can estimate the energy cost more accurately than the previous models because it breaks down turbine’s components and O&M strategies in much greater detail when studying the hydrodynamics and reliability of the turbine. This dissertation provides a design tool for farm planners, and shed light on other disciplines such as environmental sciences and oceanography.

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