Near and far field flow disturbances induced by model hydrokinetic turbine: ADV and ADP comparison

Vincent S. Neary, Budi Gunawan, Craig Hill, Leonardo P. Chamorro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Wake flows downstream of hydrokinetic turbines are characterized by hub and tip vortices, a velocity deficit and an increase in turbulence intensity. Velocity and turbulence recovery in the wakes of individual turbines constrains the density of turbines in an array and limits the amount of energy that can be produced by a turbine farm. However, few hydrokinetic turbine flow recovery studies have been conducted, especially on the far-field flow characteristics. Nor have studies evaluated the accuracy of acoustic Doppler profiler measurements in the wakes of turbines. The present study examines vertical profiles of mean velocity and turbulence, as well as longitudinal profiles of velocity deficit and turbulence levels measured at the symmetry plane of a model three-blade axial flow turbine in a large open channel flow. Mean velocity and turbulence statistics are measured using an acoustic Doppler velocimeter (ADV) and a pulse coherent acoustic Doppler profiler (ADP). ADV and corrected-ADP derived values of mean velocity, turbulence intensity and root-mean-square velocity constitute a well-documented data set that can be used to validate numerical models simulating the effects of hydrokinetic turbine arrays. We found that 80% of the flow recovery occurred about ten diameters downstream from the rotor plane, which suggests that practical values for longitudinal spacing of turbines should be between ten and fifteen diameters. Significant errors observed in mean velocity and turbulence statistics derived from ADP measurements in the near wake region raise concerns on the use of these instruments for such measurements in lab and field studies. Although the cause of some of the errors requires further investigation, we show that errors in turbulence intensity can be successfully corrected with supplemental ADV measurements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalRenewable Energy
StatePublished - Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Acoustic Doppler current profiler
  • Acoustic Doppler velocimeter
  • Hydrokinetic turbine
  • Marine renewable energy
  • Tidal energy
  • Wake recovery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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