Simulation-Based Approach for Site-Specific Optimization of Hydrokinetic Turbine Arrays

Tuesday, 16 December 2014: 8:40 AM
Fotis Sotiropoulos, Saurabh Chawdhary, Xiaolei Yang, Ali Khosronejad and Dionysios Angelidis, University of Minnesota Twin Cities, St. Anthony Falls Laboratory, Minneapolis, MN, United States
A simulation-based approach has been developed to enable site-specific optimization of tidal and current turbine arrays in real-life waterways. The computational code is based on the St. Anthony Falls Laboratory Virtual StreamLab (VSL3D), which is able to carry out high-fidelity simulations of turbulent flow and sediment transport processes in rivers and streams taking into account the arbitrary geometrical complexity characterizing natural waterways. The computational framework can be used either in turbine-resolving mode, to take into account all geometrical details of the turbine, or with the turbines parameterized as actuator disks or actuator lines. Locally refined grids are employed to dramatically increase the resolution of the simulation and enable efficient simulations of multi-turbine arrays. Turbine/sediment interactions are simulated using the coupled hydro-morphodynamic module of VSL3D. The predictive capabilities of the resulting computational framework will be demonstrated by applying it to simulate turbulent flow past a tri-frame configuration of hydrokinetic turbines in a rigid-bed turbulent open channel flow as well as turbines mounted on mobile bed open channels to investigate turbine/sediment interactions. The utility of the simulation-based approach for guiding the optimal development of turbine arrays in real-life waterways will also be discussed and demonstrated.

This work was supported by NSF grant IIP-1318201. Simulations were carried out at the Minnesota Supercomputing Institute.