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River hydrokinetic turbine modeling

Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) has identified a need for effective numerical modelling tools and turbine-array layout guidelines to support the industry to develop river hydrokinetic (RHK) projects. Performing Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations for multiple turbines with detailed modeling of full turbine geometries presents an enormous technical challenge due to the need for substantial computational resources. To overcome this challenge, NRCan collaborated with Laval University, Mavi Innovations Inc. and Lambda2 Engineering Simulations to develop a simplified turbine array modelling approach that requires significantly less computational resources, thereby making it more widely available.

The following report presents the development of the simplified numerical models for both axial-flow and cross-flow turbines. A description of how the models simulate turbine arrays, as well as estimated power and drag data for turbines in a river environment using only a desktop computer is also provided. This report documents the CFD simulation results for a number of turbine array configurations using the simplified models, investigates the performance of individual turbines in the array, and evaluates wake effects on turbine performance.

Based on results of the CFD simulations, the project team provides preliminary guidelines to configure RHK projects using turbine arrays. Lastly, the report summarizes the methodologies used to implement the simplified models, within the commercial software package STAR CCM+.

For access to the full publication, please contact CanmetENERGY Ottawa’s Business Office.

The Effective Performance Turbine Model (EPTM) for turbine array modeling, developed under the joint effort between Laval University, Mavi Innovations Inc., Lambda2 Engineering Simulations and Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), was numerically validated using high-fidelity full-rotor simulations.  While the results were promising, further validation was necessary through bench scale and field scale experiments. The objective of this project was to verify and evaluate the accuracy and reliability of the EPTM for wake structure and turbine performance predictions, using the benchmark testing results achieved at the Hydraulic Laboratory operated by the National Research Council (NRC) in Ottawa, Canada.

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