Whereas numerous numerical modelling have been conducted to gain further insights about the hydrodynamic characteristics of tidal stream energy sites, the long-term transport of water particles has been routinely ignored. However, a refined evaluation of circulation pathways is fundamental to assess water-quality changes induced by tidal energy converters. The present study investigates the tide-induced Lagrangian circulation in north-western coastal waters of Brittany (France, western Europe), including numerous islands, shoals and straits with strong potential for turbine farm implementation. Particular attention is dedicated to the hydrodynamic impact of tidal stream power extraction from a series of horizontal-axis turbines. An original approach, based on the coupling of the Lagrangian barycentric method with predictions from a model at high spatial resolution, is considered to assess circulation pathways in a single synoptic view. Spatial results reveal a complex Lagrangian circulation highly controlled by bathymetry and islands geometry. The residual flow in the Fromveur Strait, separating Ushant island from Molène archipelago, displays thus a strong asymmetry, between a prominent north-eastern pathway with residual currents up to 0.45ms-1 and a southward circulation. The positions of cyclonic and anti-cyclonic recirculations, both upstream and downstream the Strait, are furthermore precisely defined. The north eddy is found closely located to the sand bank of the Four. The extraction of tidal stream power impacts mainly the residual Lagrangian circulation along the current stream emerging from the Strait, with a tendency for surrounding eddies to get closer to the tidal stream energy site. The displacements of the south and north recirculations may thus exceed 1.5 km with possible implications on the evolution of surrounding seabed features.
Assessing the impact of tidal stream energy extraction on the Lagrangian circulation
Title: Assessing the impact of tidal stream energy extraction on the Lagrangian circulation
October 01, 2017
Journal: Applied Energy
Guillou, N.; Chapalain, G. (2017). Assessing the impact of tidal stream energy extraction on the Lagrangian circulation. Applied Energy, 203, 321-332.