Tidal stream turbines

Tidal stream devices typically comprise a turbine to generate electricity from bidirectional flows with average velocities greater than 2 m/s. Farms of these devices deployed at key sites around the UK could generate 5-10% of present UK electricity demand. Some tidal stream devices are based on the configuration of a wind turbine, comprising two or three blades rotating around an axis parallel to the flow. However, the presence of large-scale turbulence within the flow and a free surface above the device that may be subject to wave forcing present very different design problems to wind turbines.

Research focus

  • Energy yield from farms comprising multiple turbines
  • Loading of turbines within arrays
  • Influence of waves and turbulence on mean and unsteady loads
  • Extreme loading due to waves, turbulence and impact by debris or vertebrates

Recent projects

Manchester contributes to two industry-academia marine energy projects that were commissioned by the Energy Technologies Institute to accelerate the development of a marine energy industry in the UK.

  • Within the Performance of Arrays of Wave and Tidal Stream Systems (PerAWaT) project, we have designed and conducted experimental studies to improve understanding of individual turbine wakes and the loading and energy yield of turbines within arrays.
  • On the Reliable Data Acquisition Platform or Tidal (ReDAPT) project we have developed the EDF open-source CFD solver Code_Saturne to enable blade-resolved Large Eddy Simulation of a prototype tidal stream turbine in realistic turbulence.
  • On the EPSRC Marine Energy Challenge project X-MED CFD and SPH are being further developed to enable prediction of extreme loads on tidal stream turbines due to turbulence and current and due to impact loads. 


Academic Staff: Prof Peter Stansby,  Dr Tim StallardDr David D Apsley, Dr Imran Afgan

Please contact one of the academic staff for further details of current research activity.

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