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Title: Hydrodynamic analysis of the momentum-reversal and lift tidal turbine
Author: Berry, Matthew James
ISNI:       0000 0004 6422 4548
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2017
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Tidal energy has the potential to make a valuable contribution to meeting future global energy demands. Converting the energy of tidal streams into useful electricity can be achieved with use of tidal-stream turbines, such as the Momentum-Reversal and Lift (MRL) device. This turbine utilises a blade motion where each blade rotates continuously through 180° about its own axis for every 360° of turbine rotation. The aim of the design is to harness both useful lift and drag forces when rotating at relatively slow speeds. However, no detailed analysis of the time-varying fluid dynamic behaviour of the turbine has been undertaken before this study. The primary aim of this study has been to further understanding of the performance characteristics of the MRL turbine design, focusing on a laboratory- scale device. The study has analysed both the time-averaged and time-varying torque and power output, and the associated fluid-dynamic structure of flow through the turbine. A secondary aim was to generate data that can be used by other researchers who focus on the wake generation of the MRL tidal turbine. This study has used OpenFOAM to develop a time-dependent RANS CFD model and investigate the performance of the MRL turbine. To allow validation of the CFD model, experiments were firstly undertaken in order to measure the cycle-mean torque and power output of the turbine when operating in a laboratory flume. Measurements of the flow velocity at a number of upstream and downstream locations were also taken, in order to allow comparison with the CFD simulation results, where appropriate. Also, in order to allow validation of the CFD approach against time-varying data, the motion of the turbine blades was analysed. This allowed suitable experimental test cases to be identified from the literature and CFD simulation results have been compared to these. A detailed sensitivity analysis of the MRL turbine CFD model was carried out, followed by two-dimensional simulations of the turbine involving a single-blade and three-blades. Three-dimensional simulations were also undertaken, with results compared to the gathered experimental results. Finally, the effect of varying turbine solidity was investigated with the CFD model. Overall it was found that the CFD simulations successfully reproduce the rotational speed at which maximum torque and power are developed. However, the three-dimensional simulations significantly over-predict the magnitude of results in comparison to the gathered experimental results. Regardless, the two- and three-dimensional simulations have allowed detailed analysis of the flow behaviour and structures that are responsible for the development of blade forces and turbine torque.
Supervisor: Tabor, Gavin Sponsor: Kirby Laing Foundation
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Tidal Energy ; MRL Turbine ; Renewable Energy ; Computational Fluid Dynamics ; CFD ; Experiment ; Acoustic Doppler Velocimetry ; ADV ; OpenFOAM