T. Divett, R. Vennell and C. Stevens – Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A, 2013
At tidal energy sites, large arrays of hundreds of turbines will be required to generate economically significant amounts of energy. Owing to wake effects within the array, the placement of turbines within will be vital to capturing the maximum energy from the resource. This study presents preliminary results using Gerris, an adaptive mesh flow solver, to investigate the flow through four different arrays of 15 turbines each. The goal is to optimize the position of turbines within an array in an idealized channel. The turbines are represented as areas of increased bottom friction in an adaptive mesh model so that the flow and power capture in tidally reversing flow through large arrays can be studied. The effect of oscillating tides is studied, with interesting dynamics generated as the tidal current reverses direction, forcing turbulent flow through the array. The energy removed from the flow by each of the four arrays is compared over a tidal cycle. A staggered array is found to extract 54 per cent more energy than a non-staggered array. Furthermore, an array positioned to one side of the channel is found to remove a similar amount of energy compared with an array in the centre of the channel.