Tim Gauthier Master's Thesis Defense
- Monday, November 13, 2017 at 11:00am
- Plant Biosciences Building, Room 108 - view map
Evaluation of Pitch Control Techniques for a Cross-Flow Turbine
Cross-flow water turbines are complex devices that have yet to see large-scale implementation relative to conventional horizontal-axis wind turbines. While wind energy was the primary target of past investigations, water energy follows most of the same dynamic principles. However, water currents tend to be much more stable than their wind current counterparts and many water currents exist in channels that favor the compact shape of the cross-flow turbine. These advantages have rejuvenated interest in cross-flow turbine design for marine energy generation. Computational models give engineers the ability to accurately estimate what designs work best to avoid costly field maintenance and downtime. The computational models described in this work examine how controlling the pitch of water turbine blades can improve system performance and reliability. Pitch means that the blade noses up or down about an axis running from leading edge to trailing edge relative to the current. Pitch control is an established technology, originally developed for helicopter blades and commonly used by conventional wind turbines. Initial results suggest significant incremental gain in power output with pitch control, as compared to a zero-pitch case, based on a to-scale representation of the cross-flow water turbine in the Fluids and Computations Laboratory at Montana State University. Reliability gains are also observed in terms of reduced force transmitted by the water to the blades which may allow for lower cost turbine structures. Cross-flow water turbines have the potential to become a significant worldwide energy source, with performance optimization studies such as these a necessary prerequisite.
- Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering