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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/R000611/1
Title: Measurable metrics for characterisation of large-scale turbulent structures in tidal races for the marine tidal energy industry
Principal Investigator: Austin, Dr MJ
Other Investigators:
Green, Professor M Rippeth, Professor T
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Sch of Ocean Sciences
Organisation: Bangor University
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 July 2017 Ends: 31 December 2018 Value (£): 145,055
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Energy - Marine & Hydropower
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
16 Feb 2017 Energy Feasibility 2017 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The marine renewable energy industry is vital to the future energy security of the UK as climate change necessitates the shift towards low carbon energy sources. Ocean energy represents a vast and largely untapped resource and the shallow seas around the UK represent one the best tidal energy resources globally, accounting for some 10% of the total resource. In consequence, the tidal energy industry is an emerging and steadily growing sector of the UK economy. However, the potentially highest yield tidal environments (i.e. tidal races) are particularly challenging environments for development due to the strong currents and in particular very turbulent flows. Optimum and efficient design of tidal energy convertors (TECs) therefore requires the characterisation of both the flow and turbulence at potential sites for development.

The aim of this project is to develop techniques, which are directly applied to enhance the technological capability of oceanographic measurement equipment, for the characterisation of key aspects of turbulence, and hence identification of appropriate turbulence parameters, to aid the design and operation of TECs.

The main technical challenge in the development of the marine tidal energy sector is the design, deployment and operation, over the long term, of cost effective in-stream TEC devices which are able to survive the extreme conditions associated with potentially high yield regions (ie. rapid tidal currents). A key requirement in the development of the industry is therefore methodology for site survey which provides characterisation of appropriate turbulent parameters. Measurements demonstrate that turbulent kinetic energy dissipation is strongly linked to tidal current speed, in a confined channel it is highly variable, fluctuating by over an order of magnitude for a given flow speed. However, commonly used acoustic techniques fail to resolve this variability in dissipation, which results from the formation of coherent structures. Furthermore, these measurements do not provide accessible information on the larger scale structure of turbulence, ie. the scales, structure/coherency and stress, which are most likely to compromise the structural integrity of the tidal energy infrastructure and effect power yield.

Here we propose to develop and test new methodologies, using measurements from the latest generation of off-the-shelf 5-beam acoustic Doppler current profilers (ADCPs), to provide a more appropriate and comprehensive characterisation of turbulence at length scales directly relevant to the design of tidal stream energy generation infrastructure. The immediate relevance of these developments will be insured through collaboration with our partners, ADCP manufacturer Nortek and marine energy site survey company Partrac. In particular, we will exploit our previous observations that structure function techniques applied to multi-beamed acoustic current profilers can be used to provide a measure of anisotropy of turbulence.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Organisation Website: http://www.bangor.ac.uk