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Modelling impacts of tidal stream turbines on surface waves

Li, Xiaorong; Li, Ming; Jordan, Laura Beth; McLelland, Stuart; Parsons, Daniel R.; Amoudry, Laurent O.; Song, Qingyang; Comerford, Liam


Xiaorong Li

Ming Li

Laura Beth Jordan

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Dr Stuart McLelland
Deputy Director of the Energy and Environment Institute

Laurent O. Amoudry

Qingyang Song

Liam Comerford


© 2018 Elsevier Ltd A high resolution Computational Flow Dynamics (CFD) numerical model is built based on a laboratory experiment in this research to study impacts of tidal turbines on surface wave dynamics. A reduction of ∼3% in wave height is observed under the influence of a standalone turbine located 0.4 m from the free surface. The artificial wave energy dissipation routine ‘OBSTACLE’ within FVCOM is shown to effectively capture the correct level of wave height reduction, reproducing the CFD results with significantly less computational effort. The turbine simulation system is then applied to a series of test cases to investigate impact of a standalone turbine on bed shear stress. Results suggest an apparent increase in bed stress (∼7%) upstream of the turbine due to the inclusion of surface waves. However, in the immediate wake of the turbine, bed stress is dominated by the presence of the turbine itself, accounting for a ∼50% increase, with waves having a seemingly negligible effect up to 9D (D is the turbine diameter) downstream of the turbine. Beyond this point, the effect of waves on bed shear stress become apparent again. The influence of OBSTACLE on bed stress is also noticeable in the far wake, showing a reduction of ∼2% in wave height.


Li, X., Li, M., Jordan, L. B., McLelland, S., Parsons, D. R., Amoudry, L. O., …Comerford, L. (2019). Modelling impacts of tidal stream turbines on surface waves. Renewable energy, 130, 725-734.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 29, 2018
Online Publication Date Jun 4, 2018
Publication Date 2019-01
Deposit Date Aug 26, 2018
Publicly Available Date Jun 5, 2019
Journal Renewable Energy
Print ISSN 0960-1481
Electronic ISSN 1879-0682
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 130
Pages 725-734
Keywords Tidal stream energy; Oceanographic model; Wave-current coupling; Bottom shear stress
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