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with the goal to capture energy from the current of an ocean, river, estuary or similar

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Abstract

Hydrokinetic energy is an environmentally friendly source of electricity and it has the advantage to be more predictable compared to other renewables. According to IRENA (2020), the capacity of converting hydrokinetic energy into electricity is expected to increase in the coming decades as many concepts are in the pipeline. One of these hydrokinetic energy concepts is the patented Van Rompay Turbine. The Van Rompay Turbine consists of a duct, an air chamber and a paddlewheel. The duct, which is based on a Venturi working principle, consists of a converging inlet, a throat and a diverging outlet. Above the throat, an air chamber is present to provide an air environment to reduce resistance for the paddlewheel. The goal of this research was to experimentally and numerically test a prototype (L:4.05m x W:1.17m x H:1.17m) of the ducted system.Three inclination angles: 21°, 26° & 31°, for the converging inflow and diverging outflow segment were tested, referred to as the small, medium and large ramp size, respectively, to determine which size represents the lowest energy losses in the system. The small in -and outflow ramp represents the lowest energy losses compared to the medium and large ramp. Subsequently, on the small inflow ramp, five designs were tested, referred to as the straight, curved and the high, mid & low frequency waved designs; to again determine which design represents the lowest energy losses. Roughed waved wall designs are streamwise wavy walls with each a different wavelength and amplitude. The small ramp with a high, mid & low frequency waved design results in the lowest energy losses in comparison to the straight and curved designs for inlet velocities between 0 m/s and 0.4 m/s. For inlet velocities between 0.4 m/s and 0.5 m/s, the small ramp with a curved design represents the lowest energy losses in comparison to the straight and high, mid & low frequency waved designs.The data points acquired during the experiments were scattered due to external factors increasing the uncertainty of the measurements. Besides this, the experimental investigations were tested over an inlet velocity between 0 m/s and 0.5 m/s, limiting the data analysis. For this reason, several CFD simulations were carried out to acquire data with no influence of external factors and to investigate the system for higher velocities. The CFD simulations were executed for the five different inflow ramp designs with an in -and outflow inclination angle of 21°. The CFD model solves the Reynolds-averaged Navier–Stokes (RANS) equations with a k-epsilon turbulence closure model. Based on these CFD simulations, the best performing design for the inflow ramp in terms of the lowest energy losses for an inlet flow velocity between 0 m/s and 0.75 m/s is the high frequency waved design. Regarding velocities between 0.75 m/s and 3 m/s, the curved design represents thelowest energy losses compared to the straight and high, mid & low frequency waved designs. After scaling up the ducted system in CFD simulations with a factor 2 and 10, the flow velocity reduces as there are more energy losses in the system. However, as larger systems have a marginal lower specific surface of contact between the water and the duct, an increase in available flow power could be found. The extent to which the ducted system can be scaled up depends on the space restrictions at the specific location. Besides, the minimal required inflow area of the free water flow should be met. It can therefore be concluded that the potentially available energy for generation also depends the location where the Van Rompay will be deployed.Experiments need to be performed to study the hydrodynamic impact and the hydrodynamic efficiency of the paddlewheel to determine the power performance output and thus its potential value for the hydrokinetic energy market. It is recommended for future research to test the prototype at higher velocities and to test the prototype in a laboratory facility as these offer the benefits of controlled testing.