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Developing industry guidance on tidal turbulence

TiME steps closer to development of industry guidance on tidal turbulence to reduce risk for industry

Marine data acquisition experts, Partrac, today announced that the TiME (Turbulence in Marine Environments) project is entering the final stages of data analysis following the success of turbulence measurement surveys. The project, developed to improve the understanding of the effect of marine turbulence on tidal arrays in Scottish waters, is being delivered with partners Ocean Array Systems, ABPmer, and IT Power, whilst being funded by the Scottish Government and managed by the Carbon Trust through the Marine Renewables Commercialisation Fund (MRCF) Array Technology Innovation Programme.

Comprehensive turbulence measurement surveys were undertaken by Partrac in the challenging tidal environments of both the Sound of Islay and the Inner Sound, Pentland Firth. The first round tidal sites were selected for their commercially viable characteristics to ensure captured survey data and guidance supports the ongoing commercial development at these two sites.

Sam Athey, a Director and co-owner at Partrac, said “The successful attainment of 100% data return from these innovative surveys, has provided high quality data for assessment and classification of turbulence, leading to Guidance that will provide a framework for the tidal industry to measure, classify and analyse turbulence for commercial tidal arrays.”

The surveys were designed specifically to measure turbulence using different methods and technologies so that each can be evaluated, and turbulence can be mapped across a tidal energy development site. ABPmer is incorporating the data in resource characterisation, Ocean Array Systems is providing turbulence characterisation and hydrodynamic analyses, and IT Power is contributing their knowledge of engineering design, device performance and tidal turbine array modelling.

Guy Henley, project manager of the MRCF Array Technology Innovation Programme at the Carbon Trust commented: “Understanding the impact of turbulence on tidal arrays is a critical aspect of realising commercial scale tidal arrays. The comprehensive nature of the data collected by the project team has exceeded our expectations and we are confident the guidance for the industry will help improve understanding of this important area.”

Following the analysis of the data, industry guidance is expected to be released later this year, providing a unified framework for measuring, classifying and predicting the effect of turbulence on resource assessment, device design/operation and array yield. The project has involved interaction with the tidal industry through presentations at leading events, and a contributory workshop that was held at the RenewableUK Wave & Tidal conference in February. Communication continues through a specific TiME LinkedIn group.

At EWTEC 2015 (European Wave & Tidal Energy Conference) September, Ocean Array Systems will present “Turbulence in Marine Environments” (Clark 2015), featuring the ‘Turbulence Selector’ developed under TiME. This allows Industry stakeholders to determine the effects that turbulence has on the part of the engineering process they own. It also highlights links between effects and identifies methods for addressing them.


Contact George Smith - Business Development Manager, (+44 (0) 7881 344 410)


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Wave and tidal energy