2022 article

Characterization of the Steady-State Operating Conditions of Tethered Coaxial Turbines


By: V. Williams n, S. Bryant n, S. Agrawal n, A. Mazzoleni n, K. Granlund n, P. Ramaprabhu*, M. Bryant n

co-author countries: United States of America 🇺🇸
author keywords: Coaxial turbine; hydrokinetic energy; blade-element momentum; skew; nonuniform inflow; tethered energy devices
Source: Web Of Science
Added: March 13, 2023

Tethered coaxial turbines (TCTs) may be a feasible configuration to extract hydrokinetic energy from the Gulf Stream’s flow. A TCT consists of two rotors attached to the halves of a rotary generator, which is moored to a mounting point via a tether. Flow causes the rotors to counter-rotate which induce power within the generator. The TCT’s steady-state operating domain and power extraction is determined by the intersection of the hydrodynamic operating domain of the rotors and electromechanic operating domain of the generator. As a result, the TCT’s operating point can be selected with an electrical load resistance, skew angle, and flow speed. Previous analytical methods for evaluating dual rotor devices have assumed ideal rotor, flow, and generator characteristics to simplify the quantification of power extraction. The proposed hydrodynamic analysis modifies traditional blade-element momentum theory (BEMT) to accept nonuniform inflow into the rotor, via a radially and azimuthally discretized BEMT method (RAD-BEMT). RAD-BEMT is leveraged alongside a momentum theory wake development factor to determine the response of the back rotor within the nonuniform wake of the front rotor. The back rotor response is determined by minimizing the difference in mass continuity and rotor torques. Our electromechanical analysis considers an AC generator, and the effects of voltage rectification, system resistance, and capacitance on the TCT’s power extraction capabilities. A case study was performed to demonstrate the ability of torque and mass continuity minimization to locate a hydrodynamic operating point, for axial and skew flow conditions. Additionally, power extraction capabilities, load resistance selection, and the qualitative effects of skew on the minimization domain are discussed.