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Inflow Measurement in a Tidal Strait for Deploying Tidal Current Turbines: Lessons, Opportunities and Challenges

[+] Author Affiliations
Ye Li, Neil Kelley, Robert Thresher, Bonnie Jonkman, Scott Hughes

National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, CO

Jonathan A. Colby

Verdant Power, New York, NY

Paper No. OMAE2010-20911, pp. 569-576; 8 pages
  • ASME 2010 29th International Conference on Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering
  • 29th International Conference on Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering: Volume 3
  • Shanghai, China, June 6–11, 2010
  • Conference Sponsors: Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4911-8 | eISBN: 978-0-7918-3873-0
  • Copyright © 2010 by ASME


Tidal energy has received increasing attention over the past decade. This increasing focus on capturing the energy from tidal currents has brought about the development of many designs for tidal current turbines. Several of these turbines are progressing rapidly from design to prototype and pre-commercial stages. As these systems near commercial development, it becomes increasingly important that their performance be validated through laboratory tests (e.g., towing tank tests) and sea tests. Several different turbine configurations have been tested recently. The test results show significant differences in turbine performance between laboratory tests, numerical simulations, and sea tests. Although the mean velocity of the current is highly predictable, evidence suggests a critical factor in these differences is the unsteady inflow. To understand the physics and the effect of the inflow on turbine performance and reliability, Verdant Power (Verdant) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have engaged in a partnership to address the engineering challenges facing marine current turbines. As part of this effort, Verdant deployed Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) equipment to collect data from a kinetic hydropower system (KHPS) installation at the Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy (RITE) project in the East River in New York City. The ADCP collected data for a little more than one year, and this data is critical for properly defining the operating environment needed for marine systems. This paper summarizes the Verdant-NREL effort to study inflow data provided by the fixed, bottom-mounted ADCP instrumentation and how the data is processed using numerical tools. It briefly reviews previous marine turbine tests and inflow measurements, provides background information from the RITE project, and describes the test turbine design and instrumentation setup. This paper also provides an analysis of the measured time domain data and a detailed discussion of shear profiling, turbulence intensity, and time-dependent fluctuations of the inflow. The paper concludes with suggestions for future work. The analysis provided in this paper will benefit future turbine operation studies. In addition, this study, as well as future studies in this topic area, will be beneficial to environmental policy makers and fishing communities.

Copyright © 2010 by ASME
Topics: Turbines , Tides , Inflow



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