An economical way to harvest tidal energy is by integrating free stream turbines in coastal infrastructure. While numerous studies have investigated how turbines should be arranged in idealized geometries to optimize their performance, only a few have considered the influence of realistic bed features. This research investigates the influence of a hydraulic structure on the performance of a tidal turbine, using the combination of field monitoring of full scale turbines installed in a Dutch storm surge barrier - comprising a weir and pillars - and by developing a corresponding theoretical model.
The observed production by the turbines was large compared to situations with an unconstrained flow for two reasons. Firstly, the flow contraction by the weir increased the mass flux through the rotor plane. Secondly, the turbine suppressed energy losses in the recirculation zone downstream of a weir. The proposed model provides a quantitative estimate of these effects and is validated against field data. The model can be used as a design tool or parametrization of turbines in a large scale shallow water model, providing performance estimates covering a range of turbine-weir configurations. The work contributes to efficiently exploiting tidal energy with turbines in coastal bridges or flood defenses.