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Performance and wake characteristics of tidal turbines in an infinitely large array

Ouro Barba, Pablo ORCID: and Nishino, Takafumi 2021. Performance and wake characteristics of tidal turbines in an infinitely large array. Journal of Fluid Mechanics 925 , A30. 10.1017/jfm.2021.692

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The efficiency of tidal stream turbines in a large array depends on the balance between negative effects of turbine-wake interactions and positive effects of bypass-flow acceleration due to local blockage, both of which are functions of the layout of turbines. In this study we investigate the hydrodynamics of turbines in an infinitely large array with aligned or staggered layouts for a range of streamwise and lateral turbine spacing. First, we present a theoretical analysis based on an extension of the linear momentum actuator disc theory for perfectly aligned and staggered layouts, employing a hybrid inviscid-viscous approach to account for the local blockage effect within each row of turbines and the viscous (turbulent) wake mixing behind each row in a coupled manner. We then perform large-eddy simulation (LES) of open-channel flow for 28 layouts of tidal turbines using an actuator line method with doubly periodic boundary conditions. Both theoretical and LES results show that the efficiency of turbines (or the power of turbines for a given bulk velocity) in an aligned array decreases as we reduce the streamwise turbine spacing, whereas that in a staggered array remains high and may even increase due to the positive local blockage effect (causing the local flow velocity upstream of each turbine to exceed the bulk velocity) if the lateral turbine spacing is sufficiently small. The LES results further reveal that the amplitude of wake meandering tends to decrease as we reduce the lateral turbine spacing, which leads to a lower wake recovery rate in the near-wake region. These results will help to understand and improve the efficiency of tidal turbines in future large arrays, even though the performance of real tidal arrays may depend not only on turbine-to-turbine interactions within the array but also on macro-scale interactions between the array and natural tidal currents, the latter of which are outside the scope of this study.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Engineering
Additional Information: This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISSN: 0022-1120
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 10 September 2021
Date of Acceptance: 28 July 2021
Last Modified: 10 Nov 2022 09:41

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