Experimental and numerical investigation of wake interactions of marine hydrokinetic turbines

Clemente Gotelli, Mirko Musa, Michele Guala, Cristián Escauriaza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


To study the performance and environmental impacts of marine hydrokinetic (MHK) turbine arrays, we carry out an investigation based on laboratory experiments and numerical models able to resolve the dynamics of turbulent wake interactions and their effects on the river bed. We investigate a scaled Sabella D10 mounted on a mobile bed for a single and two aligned turbines, measuring the flow velocity, the rotor angular velocity, and the scour on the sediment bed. Numerical simulations are performed using a detached-eddy simulation (DES) turbulence model coupled with the blade-element momentum (BEM) approach, which can capture the mean flow and resolve the dynamics of turbulent coherent structures in the wakes. The simulations show a good agreement on the velocity statistics obtained experimentally. Power and thrust coefficients for the downstream turbine show an average decrease and a larger variability due to the turbulent intensity produced by the upstream turbine, as compared to the single turbine case. Results of this investigation also provide a framework to assess the predictive capabilities, scope, and applicability of computational models parameterizing the turbines using BEM, for testing different turbine designs and siting strategies within the MHK array.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberen12163188
Issue number16
StatePublished - Aug 20 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This work was supported by Chile’s Marine Energy Research & Innovation Center (MERIC) CORFOproject 14CEI2-28228. The funders had no role in the design of the study; in the collection, analyses, or interpretation of data; in the writing of the manuscript; nor in the decision to publish the results.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 by the authors.


  • Numerical simulations
  • Scaled models experiments
  • Tidal turbines


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