University engineers set to investigate marine turbines

Engineers at Cambridge University have received an EPSRC grant to develop two technologies that will increase the life of marine turbines.

Using experimental testing and computational modelling developed for the jet engine industry, the team will use the £574,050 to develop technologies that eliminate some of the strains placed on marine turbines as a result of turbulent water flows.

It is claimed that the first technology will use innovative hydraulic drive trains to reduce unsteady loads that are currently being placed on turbines. The new hydraulic drive trains will enable the speed of the turbine to respond quickly to changes in the water flow, ensuring that the load on the machine remains constant.

Meanwhile, the second technology will integrate specially designed ‘spoilers’ and ‘flaps’ onto tidal turbine blades to control the flow of water in the same way that aircraft wings control the flow of air passing over them. 

Cambridge will work in collaboration with tidal turbine companies and Supergen to improve the limited resolution of the available sea turbulence measurements.