Resource characterization and variability studies for marine current power

  • Datum:
  • Plats: Häggsalen, Ångströmlaboratoriet, Uppsala
  • Doktorand: Carpman, Nicole
  • Om avhandlingen
  • Arrangör: Elektricitetslära
  • Kontaktperson: Carpman, Nicole
  • Disputation


Producing electricity from marine renewable resources is a research area that develops continuously. The field of tidal energy is on the edge to progress from the prototype stage to the commercial stage. However, tidal resource characterization, and the effect of tidal turbines on the flow, is still an ongoing research area in which this thesis aims to contribute.

In this thesis, measurements of flow velocities have been performed at three kinds of sites. Firstly, a tidal site has been investigated for its resource potential in a fjord in Norway. Measurements have been performed with an acoustic Doppler current profiler to map the spatial and temporal characteristics of the flow. Results show that currents are in the order of 2 m/s in the center of the channel. Furthermore, the flow is highly bi-directional between ebb and flood flows. The site thus has potential for in-stream energy conversion. Secondly, a river site serves as an experimental site for a marine current energy converter that has been designed at Uppsala University and deployed in Dalälven, Söderfors. The flow rate at the site is regulated by an upstream hydro power plant, making the site suitable for experiments on the performance of the vertical axis turbine in a natural environment. The turbine was run in steady discharge flows and measurements were performed to characterize the extent of the wake. Lastly, at an ocean current site, the effect that transiting ferries may have on submerged devices was investigated. Measurements were conducted with two sonar systems to obtain an underwater view of the wake caused by a propeller and a water jet thruster respectively.

Furthermore, the variability of the intermittent renewable sources wind, solar, wave and tidal energy was investigated for the Nordic countries. All of the sources have distinctly different variability features, which is advantageous when combining power generated from them and introducing it on the electricity grid. Tidal variability is mainly due to four aspects: the tidal regime, the tidal cycle, local bathymetry causing turbulence, asymmetries etc. and weather effects. Models of power output from the four sources was set up and combined in different energy mixes for a “highly renewable” and a “fully renewable” scenario. By separating the resulting power time series into different frequency bands (long-, mid-, mid/short-, and short-term components) it was possible to minimize the variability on different time scales. It was concluded that a wise combination of intermittent renewable sources may lower the variability on short and long time scales, but increase the variability on mid and mid/short time scales.

The tidal power variability in Norway was then investigated separately. The predictability of tidal currents has great advantages when planning electricity availability from tidal farms. However, the continuously varying tide from maximum power output to minimum output several times per day increases the demand for backup power or storage. The phase shift between tidal sites introduces a smoothing effect on hourly basis but the tidal cycle, with spring and neap tide simultaneously in large areas, will inevitably affect the power availability.