Hydrodynamic and economic modelling of tidal current energy conversion systems.
Melville, Guy T.
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This thesis examines the contribution of computational modelling to the development of the tidal current energy industry, against the background of increasing commercial, government, academic and public interest. It does this through the practical application of a number of computational techniques in the areas of: 1. Tidal current analysis and prediction 2. Hydrodynamic flow modelling 3. Tidal resource analysis 4. Optimised economic modelling Appropriate survey set-up is essential in gathering data. Given this, processing the data using velocity profiles; statistical techniques; and harmonic analysis can produce valuable data for site development, device design and grid management. This work developed the application of a directional and time-dependent power coefficient and demonstrates its importance in resource evaluation from tidal flow data. It further concludes that hydrodynamic flow modelling of sites prior to development is important in determining suitable sites, given the scarcity of tidal information in the areas suitable for tidal developments. The same scarcity of data, in terms of boundary conditions, interior validation points and depth does limit the accuracy of such models. The work demonstrates that using differing resource analyses can obtain dramatically different results; and develops a correlation relating energy extraction to developed energy extraction using a one dimensional channel model. In doing so it concludes that energy resource estimates may be reduced from contemporary estimates. Overall, computational modelling of tidal current energy conversion systems can have a significant contribution to their design and site development. The most significant capital costs arise from installation, decommissioning and the turbine itself, however significant reduction in the cost of energy production can result from correct placement, array size and component selection This work contributes to knowledge in a number of areas, namely: 1. It is the first published work on survey data analysis prior to deployment of a large-scale prototype tidal current energy conversion system; 2. At the time that the work was carried out, it was the first published work considering the use of the least-squared harmonic method for prediction of energy output from a tidal current energy device; 3. It is the first work to propose a directional power coefficient in the process of resource analysis for a tidal current energy conversion system; 4. The work on economic modelling was the first to produce an optimised economic model for tidal current energy conversion systems (TCECS); 5. It is the first work to use an optimised economic model for TCECSs to demonstrate the effect of device placement on the cost of energy produced; 6. It is the first work to use an optimised economic model for TCECSs to demonstrate that the cost of energy for TCECSs is minimised by maximising the rated power, given no topographical impedence; 7. It proposes a method to determine the energy resource available including energy extraction.