Ocean tides are a significant, largely untapped, source of clean energy around the world. Harsh marine conditions, including high hydrodynamic loads, present significant challenges for commercializing technologies that can convert the hydrokinetic energy in tidal currents into electricity or some other useful form of energy. A tidal energy converter (TEC) must be robust enough to safely operate for its 20–30-year lifetime in this energetic and corrosive environment. It will experience a wide range of dynamic loading that can depend on both space and time, including turbulence – from estuary- to blade-scale, tidal phase, alignment of flow with respect to the rotor, and wake effects. To better understand the dynamic loading experienced by a TEC in a tidal flow, the US Department of Energy is partnering with Sandia National Laboratories, the Atlantic Marine Energy Center at the University of New Hampshire, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to design, fabricate and test an open-source 2.5-m diameter, fully instrumented reference hydrokinetic turbine. The size of the turbine was chosen to be of a scale relevant to local flow structures, and to be large enough for its performance to be independent of Reynolds number. The device will be deployed at the UNH Tidal Energy Test Site at Memorial Bridge in Portsmouth, NH, where its power performance and load-response will be characterized. Experiments will be conducted under the various design and measurement load cases outlined by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standards for marine energy converters (TC-114). The project will provide temporally synchronized measurements of power performance, environmental and inflow conditions, and dynamic blade loading. In addition to informing the IEC marine energy standards, the performance, loading and resource data from the testing campaign will be made available through the open-source Portal and Repository for Information on Marine Renewable Energy (PRIMRE). Almost all deployments of TECs at relevant/field scales have produced data that is either proprietary or limited. This will be one of the first comprehensive, publicly available data sets for a TEC of this scale, with the aim of providing valuable data for modelers and the marine energy industry. A detailed description of the TEC design, including instrumentation, assemblies, data acquisition, and system integration, will be presented, along with the experimental test plan designed to measure, study, catalogue, and publicly archive the various load cases set forth by the IEC marine energy standards.
This work is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) through the Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO). Sandia[V2] National Laboratories is a multi-mission laboratory managed and operated by National Technology and Engineering Solutions of Sandia, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Honeywell International, Inc., for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration under contract DE-NA0003525. This abstract describes objective technical results and analysis. Any subjective views or opinions that might be expressed in the paper do not necessarily represent the views of the U.S. Department of Energy or the United States Government.