Current Research | Renewable Energy

Fluid Structure Interaction Analysis of Renewable Turbine

By Guangyu Shi, Dr Qing Xiao

Fossil fuels are not renewable, and also cause environmental problems such as global warming, air pollution and so on. Thus, renewable and eco-friendly energy is of great importance for our human. Tidal current energy is one of the sustainable energies. It is predictable and renewable. However, we meet many problems when we exploit this kind of energy, such as conversion efficiency, structural fatigue and other Fluid-Structure Interaction (FSI) problems.

One way to solve these problems is to study renewable turbines by numerical simulations. Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and Finite Element Analysis provide very useful tools for us to study these problems. The key challenge to solve these problems is developing an effective means to solve each individual physical field accurately and then couple/integrate fluid and structural fields in a proper way. Our research here needs to further develop the in-house CFD and FEA codes as well as commercial software (Fluent, CFX etc.) to study the basic FSI mechanism involved in turbine machine. The main tasks to further develop the FSI solver may include but not limited to enhance the functionality of the existing transient solver to be able to deal with a wide range of moving boundary and FSI problems, develop an effective mesh motion function (such as overset grids) so as to a large structural deformation problem could be solved. The expected outcomes are the improvement of renewable turbine's conversion efficiency. But CFD and FEA are computational consuming. It usually takes hundreds of CPUs to work thousands of hours

The following video shows the instantaneous deformation of a flexible flapping membrane as well as the periodical vortex shedding.

Please refer to:

Shi G, Xiao Q. Harvesting energy from a flexible flapping membrane in a uniform flow. 5th Oxford Tidal Energy Workshop, 21-22 March 2016, Oxford, UK