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FloWave gives tidal turbine a lift

'Momentum Reversal Lift' tidal concept completes testing

FloWave gives tidal turbine a lift image

A 'Momentum Reversal Lift' tidal turbine concept designed by the University of Exeter has completed 11 days of testing at the University of Edinburgh’s FloWave Ocean Energy Research Facility.

Up to 15 scale models of the IP-protected MRL concept were tried in a range of array configurations to determine the optimal set-up for maximum energy capture.

The FloWave tests come at the end of a 42-month £1.1m Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council-funded collaborative project led by Exeter University in partnership with Edinburgh and Manchester universities.

The prototypes have been designed to operate on the seabed in estuaries, with long horizontal blades in a cylindrical ‘combine harvester’ design.

Each blade has an aerofoil cross-section which changes its orientation as the machine rotates in order to maximize energy capture from the estuary flow.

As part of the project the MRL concept was initially tested in a French laboratory, courtesy of support from the EC-FP7 MaRINET programme.

However, conducting a second set of testing at FloWave has enabled considerably larger array layouts to be tested and a higher quality dataset to be captured, not least due the very large test section of the FloWave tank.

“The FloWave test programme has been fantastic,” said Exeter University technician Ian Moon, who manufactured the scale models and supervised all test activities.  

“We were able to use real data from the FloWave test tank and compare this with the predictions from CFD modelling. This allowed us to make some immediate changes to the numerical model based on these results, and we have now captured a tremendous amount of high quality data which we can use to further refine the CFD models.”

The MRL team will now write up the final results of their programme for submission to the EPSRC in 2016.

Image: FloWave ocean testing centre (FloWave)

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