Modeling of twin-turbine systems with vertical axis tidal current turbine: Part II-torque fluctuation
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We recently showed the advantage of using a numerical system to extract energy from tidal currents by developing a new twin-turbine model (Li and Calisal, 2010a). Encouraged by this result, we decided to use this model to study another important characteristic of the turbine system, torque fluctuation. This effort is summarized in this paper. The torque fluctuation is expected to reduce the fatigue life of tidal current turbines, though potentially it also may deteriorate the power quality of tidal current turbines. In this paper, after reviewing the twin-turbine model, we use it to predict the torque fluctuation of the system with the same configurations as we used to study the power output in Li and Calisal (2010a). Specifically, we investigate the torque fluctuation of twin-turbine systems with various turbine parameters (e.g., relative distance between two turbines and incoming flow angle) and operational condition (e.g., tip speed ratio). The results suggest that the torque of an optimally configured twin-turbine system fluctuates much less than that of the corresponding stand-alone turbine, under the same operating conditions. We then extensively compare the hydrodynamic interaction's impact on the torque fluctuation and the power output of the system. We conclude that the hydrodynamic interactions pose more constructive impacts on the torque fluctuation than on the power output. The findings indicate that the optimally configured counter-rotating system should be a side-by-side system, and that the optimally configured co-rotating system should have the downstream turbine partially in the wake of the upstream turbine depending on the detailed configuration of the turbines. Furthermore, one must balance the optimal torque fluctuation against the optimal power output. (C) 2011 Published by Elsevier Ltd.