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Air turbine development and assessment for wave power plants


The wave energy resource off the western approaches to the Community represents a clean renewable source of energy which can be utilised for future large scale electricity generation. To maximise the conversion efficiency from wave to wire and hence decrease the cost of electricity so making wave energy utilisation more attractive to developers, industry and consumers one must select the most efficient and cost effective prime mover which is likely to be an air turbine for wave power plants inducing a reversing air flow.

The principal objective of this programme is to provide the designers of a wave power converter (on near or offshore) with the means of selecting the optimum air turbine to meet their needs. The specific objectives are to * analyse the rotor aerodynamics of a Wells turbine to predict performance allowing for compressibility, viscous effects and rotor configuration * assess the effect on performance of varying the rotor blade pitch of a Wells turbine
* determine the viability of the radial bearing for inclusion in the variable pitch mechanism on the Wells turbine
* construct a data base collating existing experimental and theoretical work on the Wells turbine
* predict the interaction between a Wells turbine and a wave power converter to assess the effect on performance
* provide guide lines for designing a Wells turbine to match the air flow characteristics of a given wave oower converter
* compare the output performance of one or more self rectifying air turbines with a conventional air turbine and rectifying valves when subjected to the same random reversing air flow
* provide recommendations for selecting the most appropriate air turbine for a given wave power application.

The deliverables are :
* data base on Wells turbine performance
* design guide lines for a Wells turbine
* recommendations for selecting the most appropriate air turbine for a given wave power application
* conference/journal publications relating to the above

The purpose of this project is to provide designers of wave power converters with the information to enable them to select the optimum air turbine to meet their needs. The project will combine the European expertise in the area of the Wells turbine which is a machine that rotates in one direction when subjected to a fully reversing air flow, and is therefore suited to wave energy devices inducing such air flows (eg oscillating water columns). The project team will improve existing analytical models, and examine the feasibility of actively varying the angle of the rotor blades in order to improve efficiency. Comparison between conventional air turbines with air rectifying valves, and the Wells turbine will be conducted in order that recommendations for selecting the optimum turbine can be made. The work will be applicable to designers of wave power converters which are situated on near or offshore, and involve wave motion to induce a corresponding air movement.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts


Priory Street
United Kingdom

Participants (3)

1,Avenida Rovisco Pais 1
1049-001 Lisboa
United Kingdom
Mayfield Road King's Buildings
EH9 3JL Edinburgh
University of Limerick
Plassey Park
61 Limerick