Modeling and Numerical Simulation of a Buoyancy Controlled Ocean Current Turbine

Keywords: Renewable energy, ocean current turbines, numerical simulation, fault-tolerant control, variable buoyancy


Increased global renewable power demands and the high energy density of ocean currents have motivated the development of ocean current turbines (OCTs). These compliantly mooring systems will maintain desired near-surface operating depths using variable buoyancy, lifting surface, sub-sea winches, and/or surface buoys. This paper presents a complete numerical simulation of a 700 kW variable buoyancy controlled OCT that includes detailed turbine system, inflow, actuator (i.e., generator and variable buoyancy), sensor, and fault models. Simulation predictions of OCT performance are made for normal, hurricane, and fault scenarios. Results suggest this OCT can operate between depths of 38 m to 329 m for all homogeneous flow speeds between 1.0-2.5 m/s. Fault scenarios show that rotor braking results in a rapid vertical OCT system assent and that blade pitch faults create power fluctuations apparent in the frequency domain. Finally, simulated OCT operations in measured ocean currents (i.e., normal and hurricane conditions) quantify power statistics and system behavior typical and extreme conditions.

How to Cite
Hasankhani, A., VanZwieten, J., Tang, Y., Dunlap, B., De Luera, A., Sultan, C., & Xiros, N. (2021). Modeling and Numerical Simulation of a Buoyancy Controlled Ocean Current Turbine. International Marine Energy Journal, 4(2), 47-58.
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