R.A. Walters, M.R. Tarbotton, C.E. Hiles – Renewable Energy, March, 2013
Several approaches can be used for estimating tidal power potential. From a theoretical point of view, others have shown that the problem can be reduced to a single or multiple boundary problem with simple geometry where each case has a well deﬁned maximum power potential. From a practical point of view, the potential can be approximated from the ambient ﬂow. Questions naturally arise whether the theoretical approach can be applied to a typical ﬁeld-scale problem, and whether the practical approach has any validity. In order to provide more insight into these questions, form drag representing tidal turbines has been introduced into a numerical ﬂow model. This is an unstructured grid model with an implicit treatment of wetting and drying that has been shown to be robust, accurate, and efﬁcient for highly irregular coastal ocean environments and is well suited for this problem. The ﬁeld site that has been examined is Minas Passage in the Bay of Fundy which provides an interesting practical perspective for this problem. In the end, only a fraction of the theoretical maximum power potential can be realized in practice because of physical constraints on the maximum form drag for tidal turbines.