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Simulating tidal turbines with adaptive meshes and RANS turbulence models

Date: September 18, 2018 at 15:07 GMT

[This poster won 1st prize in the 2014 ICOE Poster Awards]

ABSTRACT: A versatile numerical model for the simulation of flow past horizontal axis tidal turbines has been developed. Most large-scale models use the shallow water equations and therefore can fail to account for important turbulent physics. The current model is based on actuator disc momentum (ADM) theory, uses a RANS model to account for turbulence and utilises dynamic mesh adaptivity. The same ADM implementation has been carried out in OpenFOAM allowing for a comparison between the two numerical models. Furthermore, a series of laboratory experiments were carried out in the hydrodynamics laboratory of the Civil Engineering Department at Imperial College London which were used to help validate the numerical model.

This model has been developed with the aim that it will be coupled with and embedded within larger numerical models simulating tidal flows in realistic domains, e.g. the Inner Sound of the Pentland Firth. This is where the adaptive meshing capability is a major advantage as it enables the mesh to be refined only in the locations required, thus making optimal use of finite computational resources. The resulting capability will be used for resource optimisation and to assess environmental impacts.

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