In 2001, the Geophysical and Industrial Fluid Flows laboratory (LEGI-FRANCE) launched the HARVEST research program (Hydroliennes á Axe de Rotation Vertical Stabilisé) to better understand and develop a suitable technology for hydroelectric marine or river power farms using Cross Flow Current Energy Converters (CFCEC) piled up in towers. The LEGI researches deal with the hydrodynamic part of these systems, with the support of the R&D Division of the EDF Group; other laboratories of the Rhône-Alpes Region are in charge of the respective mechanical (3S-INPG and LDMS-INSA) and electrical aspects (LEG-INPG).
A hydroelectric HARVEST farm consists of a cluster of barges, each barge gathering several towers. The present study concerns the spatial optimization of towers, at the scale of the barge and of the farm. This optimization is done using an innovative numerical method that couple a macroscopic model of the tower with a RANS calculation of the flow field. For the barge it is shown that the decrease of the gap between aligned and staggered rows are considered. Results show that staggered rows are more interesting only if a sufficient spacing is used between barges in rows.