Dynamic flume testing at BMSC provides insights into marine hydrokinetic turbine blade performance

 

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“Flume-scale testing of an adaptive pitch marine hydrokinetic turbine”

Ramona B. Barbera, Craig S. Hillb, Pavel F. Babuskaa, Richard Wiebea, Alberto Alisedab, & Michael R. Motleya

Modern marine hydrokinetic turbine blades are typically deployed in dynamic, energy-dense locations and are subject to complex and varying flow. These blades are usually constructed from fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) composites, the anisotropic properties of which allow for the creation of an adaptive pitch mechanism that can improve system performance, especially in off-design or varying flow conditions.

Two sets of adaptive composite blades were compared to neutral pitch composite and rigid aluminum designs. Instantaneous blade and full system loading was measured during dynamic flume testing at the Fluid Dynamics Laboratory at BMSC, and showed notable shifts in the power and thrust coefficients and significant load adjustments induced through passive pitch adaptation, suggesting that adaptive pitch composite blades could be a valuable addition to marine hydrokinetic turbine technology.

aDepartment of Civil & Environmental Engineering, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, United States
bDepartment of Mechanical Engineering, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, United States
University of Washington and the NNMREC (Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center)

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