An investigation of river kinetic turbines: performance enhancements, turbine modelling techniques, and an assessment of turbulence models

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Gaden, David L. F.
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The research focus of this thesis is on modelling techniques for river kinetic turbines, to develop predictive numerical tools to further the design of this emerging hydro technology. The performance benefits of enclosing the turbine in a shroud are quantified numerically and an optimized shroud design is developed. The optimum performing model is then used to study river kinetic turbines, including different anchoring systems to enhance performance. Two different turbine numerical models are studied to simulate the rotor. Four different computational fluid dynamics (CFD) turbulence models are compared against a series of particle image velocimetry (PIV) experiments involving highly-separated diffuser-flow and nozzle-flow conditions. The risk of cavitation is briefly discussed as well as riverbed boundary layer losses. This study is part of an effort to develop this emerging technology for distributed power generation in provinces like Manitoba that have a river system well adapted for this technology.
hydropower, kinetic turbine, renewable energy, particle image velocimetry (PIV), computational fluid dynamics (CFD), distributed power generation