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Realistic Tidal Energy Yield Estimation through Optimisation of Turbine Arrays

Date: February 25, 2015 at 14:51 GMT

In this paper , a hierarchy of approaches to the array design problem is proposed whereby models of varying fidelity are used in different stages and for different aspects of the design process. Optimisation of the number of turbines (array size) and their locations (micrositing) lies at the heart of this framework and enables the industrial designer to maximize measures such as the power extracted by the array or the financial profit that it will generate.
Tidal turbines are devices which extract energy from tidally induced currents. Device designs vary but, in general, individual units may be rated to, at most, a few megawatts. The vision is for energy to be extracted on an industrial scale by installing many devices (dozens to hundreds) together in a ‘farm’ or ‘array’. Suitable array sites have high peak flow rates and often complex bathymetry which, coupled with the presence of turbines, results in complex, rapidly spatially-varying and turbulent flow conditions. Since the power extracted has a cubic dependency on, and thus significant sensitivity to, the speed of that flow, determining the optimum number of turbines to place on a given site, and deciding where the individual turbines should be located are both challenging but crucial problems.

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