EPSRC Tier 2 HPC: Driving causes of fatigue loading in tidal turbines

Project: Research council

Project Details


The Tier-2 project will contribute to a larger project on the unsteady hydrodynamics of tidal turbines. The aim is to further elucidate the flow physics behind unsteady response, and to investigate how turbine design and operational state can be used to mitigate fatigue loads. The Tier-2 HPC project will contribute toward this broad aim through the following objectives: 1. Provide physical insight into complex, high-order unsteady flow effects. Previous work by Smyth et al [1] has shown that a number of important unsteady flow effects are neglected by low-order models or 2D strip-theory, which is the industry standard, and that this leads to substantial errors in loading predictions [2]. High-order simulations are necessary in order to understand the unsteady turbine dynamics fully, and to obtain a detailed description of the flow. 2. Run targeted simulations to investigate specific flow phenomena. A previous exploratory Tier-2 project revealed a number of phenomena needing further investigation. These included unsteady flow separation in 3D (“dynamic stall”), and unstable wake dynamics. The objective of this Tier-2 project application is to target these effects by simulating a specific parameter space. 3. Generate novel and unique results to the field of unsteady fluid dynamics. High-quality and high-order simulations such as the ones proposed, performed in a parametric manner, are of significant value for both the tidal industry and other applications (such as wind turbines, boat propellers or helicopter blades). By complementing the dataset produced in the previous Tier-2 project, we will show a wider range of flow phenomena and thus maximise its value.

Layman's description

This project aims to understand how a tidal turbine interacts with incoming gusts (e.g. due to waves) and will generate results that enable gust-resistant design of future devices, which will lead to lower costs for tidal power.
Short title£30000
Effective start/end date1/04/2031/03/21