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Title: Active Flow Control on Bidirectional Rotors for Tidal MHK Applications

A marine and hydrokinetic (MHK) tidal turbine extracts energy from tidal currents, providing clean, sustainable electricity generation. In general, all MHK conversion technologies are confronted with significant operational hurdles, resulting in both increased capital and operations and maintenance (O&M) costs. To counter these high costs while maintaining reliability, MHK turbine designs can be simplified. Prior study found that a tidal turbine could be cost-effectively simplified by removing blade pitch and rotor/nacelle yaw. Its rotor would run in one direction during ebb and then reverse direction when the current switched to flood. We dubbed such a turbine a bidirectional rotor tidal turbine (BRTT). The bidirectional hydrofoils of a BRTT are less efficient than conventional hydrofoils and capture less energy, but the elimination of the pitch and yaw systems were estimated to reduce levelized cost of energy by 7.8%-9.6%. In this study, we investigated two mechanisms for recapturing some of the performance shortfall of the BRTT. First, we developed a novel set of hydrofoils, designated the yy series, for BRTT application. Second, we investigated the use of active flow control via microtabs. Microtabs are small deployable/retractable tabs, typically located near the leading or trailing edge of an air/hydrofoil with height on themore » order of the boundary layer thickness (1% - 2% of chord). They deploy approximately perpendicularly to the foil surface and, like gurney flaps and plain flaps, globally affect the aerodynamics of the airfoil. By strategically placing microtabs and selectively deploying them based on the direction of the inflow, performance of a BRTT rotor can be improved while retaining bidirectional operation. The yy foils were computationally designed and analyzed. They exhibited better performance than the baseline bidirectional foil, the ellipse. For example, the yyb07cn-180 had 14.7% higher (l/d)max than an ellipse of equal thickness. The yyb07cn family also had higher c{sub p,min} than equivalently thick ellipses, indicating less susceptibility to cavitation. Microtabs applied on yy foils demonstrated improved energy capture. A series of variable speed and constant speed rotors were developed with the yyb07cn family of hydrofoils. The constant speed yyb07cn rotor (yy-B02-Rcs,opt) captured 0.45% more energy than the equivalent rotor with ellipses (e-B02-Rcs,opt). With microtabs deployed (yyμt-B02-Rcs,opt), the energy capture increase over the rotor with ellipses was 1.05%. Note, however, that microtabs must be applied judiciously to bidirectional foils. On the 18% thick ellipse, performance decreased with the addition of microtabs. Details of hydrofoil performance, microtab sizing and positioning, rotor configurations, and revenue impacts are presented herein.« less
 [1] ;  [2]
  1. Research Engineer
  2. Professor
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Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
University of California, Davis
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Country of Publication:
United States