Preventing failure of tidal turbines: Anna Young

Tidal stream turbines have the potential to produce 10-20% of the UK’s electrical power and can, therefore, contribute greatly to the Government’s 2050 target for reducing carbon emissions.

The most common of these machines resemble a three-bladed, horizontal axis wind turbine. While some full-scale prototypes have been successfully tested, uncertainty over the lifespan of these turbines in the harsh marine environment means that components tend to be over-engineered, and maintenance schedules to be over-cautious; this drives up costs and deters investors. It is therefore imperative that the next generation of tidal turbines makes use of smarter design techniques which take into account the unsteady conditions experienced at sea.

This talk describes work on the design and testing of load alleviation devices. These devices are based on aerospace techniques and have now been shown to give a 60% reduction in unsteady thrust loading. Anna also discusses the work to predict the effect of unsteadiness and therefore design smarter blades.

Presented at Churchill College, 8 November 2018.

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