To study the performance and environmental impacts of marine hydrokinetic (MHK) turbine arrays, we carry out an investigation based on laboratory experiments and numerical models able to resolve the dynamics of turbulent wake interactions and their effects on the river bed. We investigate a scaled Sabella D10 mounted on a mobile bed for a single and two aligned turbines, measuring the flow velocity, the rotor angular velocity, and the scour on the sediment bed. Numerical simulations are performed using a detached-eddy simulation (DES) turbulence model coupled with the blade-element momentum (BEM) approach, which can capture the mean flow and resolve the dynamics of turbulent coherent structures in the wakes. The simulations show a good agreement on the velocity statistics obtained experimentally. Power and thrust coefficients for the downstream turbine show an average decrease and a larger variability due to the turbulent intensity produced by the upstream turbine, as compared to the single turbine case. Results of this investigation also provide a framework to assess the predictive capabilities, scope, and applicability of computational models parameterizing the turbines using BEM, for testing different turbine designs and siting strategies within the MHK array.
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