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  • Journal of Fluid Mechanics, Volume 588
  • October 2007, pp. 243-251

The efficiency of a turbine in a tidal channel

  • DOI:
  • Published online: 10 October 2007

There is an upper bound to the amount of power that can be generated by turbines in tidal channels as too many turbines merely block the flow. One condition for achievement of the upper bound is that the turbines are deployed uniformly across the channel, with all the flow through them, but this may interfere with other uses of the channel. An isolated turbine is more effective in a channel than in an unbounded flow, but the current downstream is non-uniform between the wake of the turbines and the free stream. Hence some energy is lost when these streams merge, as may occur in a long channel. We show here, for ideal turbine models, that the fractional power loss increases from 1/3 to 2/3 as the fraction of the channel cross-section spanned by the turbines increases from 0 to close to 1. In another scenario, possibly appropriate for a short channel, the speed of the free stream outside the turbine wake is controlled by separation at the channel exit. In this case, the maximum power obtainable is slightly less than proportional to the fraction of the channel cross-section occupied by turbines.

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A. S. Bahaj , A. F. Molland , J. R. Chaplin & W. M. J. Batten 2007 Power and thrust measurements of marine current turbines under various hydrodynamic flow conditions in a cavitation tunnel and a towing tank. Renewable Energy 32, 407426.

K. H. Bergey 1980 The Lanchester–Betz limit. J. Energy 3, 382384.

C. Garrett & P. Cummins 2004 Generating tidal power from currents. J. Waterway, Port, Coastal, Ocean Engng 130, 114118.

C. Garrett & P. Cummins 2005 The power potential of tidal currents in channels. Proc. R. Soc. Lond. A 461, 25632572.

G. Sutherland , M. Foreman & C. Garrett 2007 Tidal current energy assessment for Johnstone Strait, Vancouver Island. J. Power Energy 221, 147157.

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Journal of Fluid Mechanics
  • ISSN: 0022-1120
  • EISSN: 1469-7645
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-fluid-mechanics
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