Reducing Costs of Tidal Energy through a Comprehensive Characterization of Turbulence in Minas Passage

Turbulence is a significant issue at every site being considered for in-stream tidal energy development. Improving and validating numerical models of turbulence and turbine operation in turbulent flow is necessary to better predict device operation and to develop efficient and financially viable tidal energy projects. This project addresses the issue of turbulence in Minas Passage. First, using an innovative suite of mobile measurement devices, it will characterize the spatial variation of turbulence in Minas Passage. Second, a high-resolution numerical model of the FORCE region in Minas Passage will simulate the generation and dissipation of turbulence, resulting in a spatial map of turbulence in the region. Third, numerical models of turbines will be embedded into these simulations to determine the effect of turbulence on turbine performance and turbine wakes. Finally, a regional numerical model will be used to produce ocean forecasts for Minas Passage, suitable for both short-term planning of marine operations and long-term project assessments. The end result of the project will be a complete mapping of the turbulence characteristics in Minas Passage that will allow for the development of tidal energy projects at reduced cost.


Principal Investigators:  Dr. Richard Karsten, Acadia University; with University of New Brunswick; Dalhousie University and Luna Ocean Consulting

October 2017 – March 2020