Experimental setup


One of the challenges associated with such an experimental campaign is to find a proper test site. The latter must provide a flow quality suitable to a scientific experiment.

To ensure uniformity and control of the upcoming flow, it was decided to mount the oscillating-wings hydrokinetic turbine on a large, high inertia pontoon. This setup gives added flexibility on the choice of operating conditions compared to a river-based rig, although it is not the targeted application.

Our custom-made instrumented boat along with its oscillating-wings hydrokinetic turbine is shown below.

Here are some characteristics of the experimental setup:

  • The oscillating-wings turbine is mounted to a lift in the central section of the pontoon. The lift allows to lower the turbine down to 2 meters under water level for operation, and to raise it out of water once the tests are done;
  • The boat is about 10 m long and massive (about 3000 kg) in order to remain stable on water even when the turbine is operating;

  • The turbine consists of two wings in a tandem configuration with each wing having a span of nearly 2 m.
  • An outboard motor drives the boat through water, allowing to reach speed up to 2 m/s;
  • The rated power of the prototype is 2 kW. The electricity produced helps recharge batteries or is dissipated through heating elements.
  • Water velocity probes are installed underwater in order to determine with accuracy the boat speed (which becomes the upcoming flow velocity with respect to the turbine) during each turbine test.


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