In the development of tidal current turbines there are two common approaches regarding the required level of detail for load simulations. Those two are either to simulate the pressure field in detail with computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and assume a rigid geometry or to use a high fidelity structural model and simulate the hydrodynamic blade loads with the semi-empirical blade element momentum theory.
Within the present research this simplification and the impact of fluid–structure-interaction (FSI) on the loads on tidal current turbines are analysed. Based on coupled CFD and multibody simulations the FSI is simulated for the Voith HyTide®1000-13 turbine. This method allows taking the detailed structure of the full turbine into account, while also simulating the detailed pressure field.
Transient simulations of a representative point of operation are performed considering the structural flexibility of the tower, rotor blades, drivetrain and other components. This comparison is used to quantify the individual and combined effect of flexibilities on the loads and performance. Therefore, the Voith HyTide®1000-13 turbine is simulated within this research in varying levels of detail to analyse the required level of modelling detail for load simulations of tidal current turbines and increases the understanding of fluid–structure-interaction in tidal current turbine applications.