Industry guide on tidal turbulence on the horizon

Collaborative project TiME that aims to improve the understanding of the effect of marine turbulence on tidal arrays in Scottish waters is entering the final stages of data analysis following the successful turbulence measurements surveys.

TiME (Turbulence in Marine Environments) project is developed by Partrac, Ocean Array Systems, ABPmer, and IT Power, with funding provided by the Scottish Government and managed by the Carbon Trust through the Marine Renewables Commercialisation Fund (MRCF) Array Technology Innovation Programme.

Comprehensive turbulence measurement surveys were undertaken by Partrac in the challenging tidal environments of both the Sound of Islay and the Inner Sound, Pentland Firth, Scotland.

The surveys were designed specifically to measure turbulence using different methods and technologies so that each can be evaluated, and turbulence can be mapped across a tidal energy development site, Partrac’s press release reads.

ABPmer is incorporating the data in resource characterisation, Ocean Array Systems is providing turbulence characterisation and hydrodynamic analyses, and IT Power is contributing their knowledge of engineering design, device performance and tidal turbine array modelling.

Sam Athey, a Director and co-owner at Partrac, said: “The successful attainment of 100% data return from these innovative surveys, has provided high quality data for assessment and classification of turbulence, leading to Guidance that will provide a framework for the tidal industry to measure, classify and analyse turbulence for commercial tidal arrays.”

The tidal sites were selected for their commercially viable characteristics to ensure captured survey data and guidance supports the ongoing commercial development at these two sites.

Guy Henley, Project Manager of the MRCF Array Technology Innovation Programme at the Carbon Trust, commented: “Understanding the impact of turbulence on tidal arrays is a critical aspect of realising commercial scale tidal arrays. The comprehensive nature of the data collected by the project team has exceeded our expectations and we are confident the guidance for the industry will help improve understanding of this important area.”

According to Partrac, following the analysis of the data, industry guidance is expected to be released later this year, providing a unified framework for measuring, classifying and predicting the effect of turbulence on resource assessment, device design/operation and array yield.

The Array Technology Innovation Programme (ATIP) is part of the Marine Renewable Commercialisation Fund (MRCF), a £9 mln Scottish Government programme managed by the Carbon Trust that aims to provide a step change in cost reduction for first marine energy arrays through the support of novel enabling technologies.

Partrac is a marine data acquisition company specialising in oceanographic, environmental and marine geosciences surveys.

ABPmer is a marine environmental consultancy that assists public and private sector organisations with the management and use of large marine data sets to support decision-making.

Ocean Array Systems is an innovative software business with expertise in turbulence and simulation.

IT Power is a renewable energy consultancy focused on technology development, engineering and project advisory.

Image: Partrac/Illustration