Marine Hydrokinetic Energy Generation


Chacao channel, located in the south of Chile, has an important power capacity due to high velocity tidal currents passing through a narrow space. The future installation of marine hydrokinetic (MHK) turbines in this location requires special care, because this area has little anthropogenic intervention and has a delicate marine ecosystem. In this study, there are some physical aspects that require an analysis across scales, since specific characteristics of the turbines and turbine arrays might have large-scale impacts. However, it is difficult to generalize changes on the environment that MHK devices can produce at specific sites since they depend on the turbine and farm design, as well as on the characteristics of the local marine environment, such as bed erosion or sediment accumulation generated by turbulent coherent structures that develop around the devices. All of these topics require advancing our understanding of the dynamics of the flow past multiple MHK devices in complex bathymetries, to address many of the technical and environmental challenges posed by this technology. Numerical simulations have become a powerful tool for engineering analysis and design, in particular, in the study of marine turbines; therefore it is possible to use them to represent the device effects from a very detailed local representation, and upscale to the simulations of the entire shore.

Project Aims

  1. To Evaluate the local flow resistance imposed by different arrangements of MHK devices
  2. To understand the impacts of hydrokinetic turbines in Chacao channel, by developing advanced numerical models that can analyze the flow in natural tidal streams, along with the installation of turbine farms
  3. To describe the flow with turbine arrays in a hierarchical scale system, parameterizing the MHK devices and upscaling their effects in larger-scale models

Project Information

Start date
November 2016
End Date
Contact Person
Karina Soto and David Richter
Contact Details

Telephone: (574) 631-4839
Funding Organization
CONICYT Fellowship
Funding Reference