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Hydrodynamic characteristics of macrotidal straits and implications for tidal stream turbine deployment

Evans, Paul Stephen 2014. Hydrodynamic characteristics of macrotidal straits and implications for tidal stream turbine deployment. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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National efforts to reduce energy dependency on fossil fuels have prompted examination of macrotidal nearshore zones around the UK for potential tidal stream resource development. Although a number of prospective tidal energy sites have been identified, the local hydrodynamics of these sites are often poorly understood. Tidal-energy developers rely on detailed characterisation of tidal energy sites prior to device field trials and installation. Although first-order appraisals may make macrotidal tidal straits appear attractive for development, detailed, site-specific hydrodynamic and bathymetric surveys are important for determining site suitability for tidal stream turbine (TST) installation. Understanding the ways in which coastal features affect tidal velocities at potential TST development sites will improve identification and analysis of physical constraints on tidal-energy development. Ramsey Sound (Pembrokeshire, Wales, UK) will soon host Wales’ first TST demonstration project. However, the local hydrodynamics of the sound have been underexamined. Ramsey Sound experiences a marked tidal asymmetry, with local bathymetric features that affect flow fields which are spatially heterogeneous in three dimensions. Using Ramsey Sound as a case study, this thesis has three objectives: (1) to examine the wake created by submerged objects through field- and laboratory-based measurements, (2) to experimentally investigate the effect of submergence on wake development and decay downstream of a conical island, and (3) to develop a TST suitability tool, which examines the effects of velocity, water depth and bed slope on power availability within a macrotidal coastal area. Laboratory experiments have shown that submergence level is an important parameter controlling wake structure and extent, and that changes in submergence level affect both the 3-D flow structure in the near wake and the 2-D far wake of islands. Analysis of physical and hydrodynamic characteristics in Ramsey Sound, including tidal velocities across the swept area of the pilot TST, vertical shear in the stream flow, estimated power output, water depth and bed slope, suggests that the spatial and temporal variability in the flow field may render much of Ramsey Sound unsuitable for tidal power extraction. Although the resource potential depends on velocity and bathymetric conditions that are fundamentally local, many prospective tidal energy sites are subject to similar physical and hydrodynamic constraints. Results of this study can help inform site selection in these complicated, highly dynamic macrotidal environments.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Earth and Ocean Sciences
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GB Physical geography
T Technology > TC Hydraulic engineering. Ocean engineering
Funders: WEFO
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 01 Jul 2017 04:56

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