Experimental Investigation of Helical Cross-Flow Axis Hydrokinetic Turbines, Including Effects of Waves and Turbulance

Conference Paper

Title: Experimental Investigation of Helical Cross-Flow Axis Hydrokinetic Turbines, Including Effects of Waves and Turbulance
Publication Date:
July 24, 2011
Conference Name: Joint Fluids Engineering Conference
Pages: 1-12
Technology Type:

Document Access

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Citation

Bachant, P.; Wosnik, M. (2011). Experimental Investigation of Helical Cross-Flow Axis Hydrokinetic Turbines, Including Effects of Waves and Turbulance. Paper Presented at the Joint Fluids Engineering Conference.
Abstract: 

The performance characteristics of two cross-flow axis hydrokinetic turbines were evaluated in UNH’s tow and wave tank. A 1m diameter, 1.25m (nominal) height three-bladed Gorlov Helical Turbine (GHT) and a 1m diameter, four-bladed spherical-helical turbine (LST), both manufactured by Lucid Energy Technologies, LLP were tested at tow speeds up to 1.5 m/s. Relationships between tip speed ratio, solidity, power coefficient (Cp), kinetic exergy efficiency, and overall streamwise drag coefficient (Cd) are explored. As expected, the spherical-helical turbine is less effective at converting available kinetic energy in a relatively low blockage, free-surface flow. The GHT was then towed in waves to investigate the effects of a periodically unsteady inflow, and an increase in performance was observed along with an increase in minimum tip speed ratio at which power can be extracted. Regarding effects of turbulence, it was previously documented that an increase in free-stream homogenous isotropic turbulence increased static stall angles for airfoils. This phenomenon was first qualitatively investigated on a smaller scale with a NACA0012 hydrofoil in a UNH water tunnel, using an upstream grid turbulence generator and using high frame-rate PIV to measure the flow field. Since the angle of attack for a cross-flow axis turbine blade oscillates with higher amplitude as tip speed ratio decreases, any delay of stall should allow power extraction at lower tip speed ratios. This hypothesis was tested experimentally on a larger scale in the tow tank by creating grid turbulence upstream of the turbine. It is shown that the range of operable tip speed ratios is slightly expanded, with a possible improvement of power coefficient at lower tip speed ratios. Drag coefficients at higher tip speed ratios seem to increase more rapidly than in the non-turbulent case.

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