Advanced Turbine Concepts

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The focus of this research study is on understanding the behaviour of the fluid flow through some of the novel advanced turbine concepts being currently proposed. It should be noted that for all but horizontal axis turbines, i.e. those that resemble conventional wind turbines, no complete theoretical description of the fluid flow through the turbine exists. Hence, little is known of how to model flows through and therefore optimise power take off from some of the more exotic turbine designs being proposed.

Examples of such advanced turbine concepts are ducted turbine concepts and open-centre horizontal axis turbines, which are both currently in prototype phase. Both concepts exhibit interesting features and designs quite different to those known from the wind energy industry. Since the only existing analyses of these devices have been performed by the manufacturers themselves and often only in controlled laboratory-scale conditions, it is of importance to the industry to conduct unbiased independent research using theoretical, computational and where appropriate experimental modelling. Numerical (Computational Fluid Dynamics, CFD) and experimental modelling is being performed using high performance computing and flow channel facilities at the University of Oxford. The results of these studies may also be compared to the output from parallel studies being conducted at Oxford on other devices such as the THAWT concept.