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Validation of a simplified numerical model using laboratory testing results of river hydrokinetic turbine arrays

An updated EPTM model was developed using full-rotor simulations, intended to reflect the low Reynolds number conditions observed in the laboratory testing facility. This was due to the small physical size of the scaled-down turbines and the low velocities observed in the test flume. EPTM simulations with six different two-turbine configurations were compared with the flow measured from the physical model to evaluate the effectiveness of the updated EPTM model. Implementation procedures for the EPTM model within Ansys-fluent are presented in this report.

The low Reynolds number of the scaled-down turbines significantly affected the unsteady hydrodynamics of the cross-flow turbines. Furthermore, low Reynolds physics proved challenging to reproduce reliably with the Unsteady Reynolds Averaged Navier-Stokes (URANS) approach. It was concluded that the laboratory testing conditions with low Reynolds number was beyond the application range of the EPTM model derived from URANS.

In order to establish reliable reference data and to facilitate the validation of numerical models, larger scale experiments are recommended. These experiments comprise of simple array configurations with detailed measurements of wake flow values and simultaneous individual turbine performance data collection at realistic Reynolds numbers.

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