Our research focusses on wave and tidal energy, encompassing resource characterisation, device fundamentals & array planning. It also addresses device fundamentals, device interactions & array siting for optimised energy yields.

The conversion of marine currents (tidal) is a relatively new area of engineering & our work is providing pioneering fundamental understanding of the hydrodynamics applicable to the converters (turbines) & arrays.

Experimental approaches investigate the fundamentals of scaled tidal turbines for a range of conditions (tip speed ratios, pitch and yaw angles). Results provide insights into operation of: (a) single turbines in straight/yawed flows, (b) performance changes due to rotor tip immersion (bathymetry), (c) cavitation inception and (d) interference between multiple rotors. Results validated numerical models including the wake effects & impacts of turbulence.

Resource assessment analysis, array effects & energy yields were obtained for the Channel Islands, Portland Bill & the Isle of Wight. In wave energy, resource assessment through satellite altimetry were conducted, as were the hydrodynamic performance of the Owel & Anaconda devices.


Latest updates:

Experimental analysis of tidal turbine arrays. 2013

Title:Experimental analysis of the influence of proximity to channel boundaries and blockage ratio on far field hydrodynamic effects and performance of tidal turbine arrays. Researcher: Tim Daly Supervisors: Luke Myers and AbuBakr Bahaj Abstract Tidal energy is now the subject of an extensive amount of research. Several studies have clearly demonstrated the significant potential contribution to low carbon electricity ...

Resource Assessment of Large Marine Current Turbine Arrays 2013

Title: Resource assessment of large marine current turbine arrays. Researcher: Danny Coles Superviors: AbuBakr Bahaj & Luke Blunden Abstract The deployment of marine current turbines has the potential to generate a significant amount of electricity in specific locations around the world. This is highly relevant to today’s energy market, where there is a demand to generate an increasing amount ...

Reducing the Costs of Marine Renewables via Advanced Structural Materials 2013

Launched in June 2013, the  Reducing the Costs of Marine Renewables via Advanced Structural Materials, is a three year, £1.2M grant funded by EPSRC , SUPERGEN Marine Grand Challenge, split between the Universities of Southampton, Strathclyde (lead) and Newcastle. (Grant EP/K013319/1) Summary For marine renewable energy conversion to achieve a much needed step change in cost reduction, whilst proving ...

Turbulence and Tidal Stream Turbines 2013

Title: Turbulence and its effects on the performance and wake of a tidal stream turbine. Researcher: Tom Blackmore Superviors: AbuBakr Bahaj & William Batten   Abstract The tidal energy resource in the UK is one of the largest in Europe and can contribute to our ever increasing demand for low carbon energy. The technology is still at the development stage ...

'Tidal Current Energy' special issue of the Royal Society's Philosophical Transactions A 2013

New research from a global group of scientists and engineers, including from SERG, has been published in a special issue journal of the Royal Society. The work is in support of tidal  power, which has the potential to provide more than 20 per cent of the UK’s electricity demand and the journal guest was edited ...

Anaconda Wave Energy Converter Concept 2012

The Anaconda wave energy converter, which is shown as an artist’s impression in Figure 1, is a novel concept for wave energy conversion invented by Rod Rainey and Francis Farley and further developed by the licensed manufacturers Checkmate SeaEnergy Ltd. The system essentially consists of a rubber tube filled with water which is placed in the ...

Actuator Disc-Rans modelling for tidal turbines 2011

Title: The accuracy of the actuator Disc-Rans approach for modelling performance and wake characteristics of a horizontal axis tidal stream turbine. Researcher: Matt Harrison Supervisors: William Batten & AbuBakr Bahaj   Abstract Tidal stream energy has the potential to supply power with low carbon dioxide emissions, but the technology is still being developed. Horizontal axis tidal stream turbines have seen the greatest development, and to generate ...

Feasibility Study of the Impacts of a Proposed Tidal Array Installation in Alderney South Banks 2010 12 small images showing simulated velocity deficit when tidal turbines are installed at different locations around alderney

The effect of tidal stream turbine arrays upon sediment dynamics has received little attention to date due to, on one hand, lack of installed arrays and on the other lack of high resolution bathymetric survey data. However, we are now at the stage where there are some serious plans for implementing arrays of size tens to ...

A new approach to tidal stream energy resource assessment 2009

Title: A new approach to tidal stream energy resource assessment Researcher: Luke Blunden Supervisor: AbuBakr Bahaj   Abstract Tidal stream power generation offers the prospect of predictable, low-CO₂ power at a number of locations around the UK and the world.  Previous assessments of tidal energy resources have taken the form of desk studies based on simplified navigational data. Where numerical model data has been used ...

Array Project: Experimental Tests 2009

Marine current energy conversion technology is presently at the prototype stage where single devices are deployed, or planned for installation, at isolated testing sites. In the medium term, however, devices will be installed in arrays. Understanding the effect devices have on the flow is critical in determining how one device may modify both the performance ...

Characterisation of the Wave Energy Resource at Potential Sites for Wave Energy Farms 2009

The ability to measure accurately the wave energy resource at a given site is essential for the successful development of wave farms. The likelihood of success must be assessed before a project goes ahead. A collaborative project between the University of Southampton and Pelamis Wave Power Ltd (PWP) is currently aiming at providing a wave ...

2D Farm Simulations: Portland Bill 2008

Little is known about the possible effects that a large number of tidal turbines would have on the local tidal regime. Having some idea is important, not only for the purpose of predicting power output (it could be reduced due to reduced flow speeds), but also for environmental impact assessment. Field data on these effects ...

Forecasting Tidal Flows 2008

For example tidal data, simulation results around Portland Bill have been used, this site has a significant swing from the 180º flow reversal, allowing comparisons between fixed orientation and yawing devices. The variation of depth-averaged speed over 28 days from the simulation is shown in the first figure. The T_TIDE package for MATLAB was used to ...

3D Array simulations: Phase 1 2007

Initial simulations of arrays of tidal turbines have been performed using FLUENT a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) package. The use of CFD allows analysis of several possible farm simulations with different boundary conditions. Details of these initial simulations have been published in: Batten W.M.J. and Bahaj A.S. (2006) CFD simulation of a small farm of horizontal axis ...

Blade Element Momentum Predictions: Phase 1 2007 Image of programme flow chart

SERG-Tidal is a tidal turbine prediction program developed at the University of Southampton is based on a blade element momentum (BEM) program for wind turbines initially developed in the late 1980’s at the university by Barnsley & Wellicome. The new code developed has major enhancements specifically established to deal with the operation in water and other ...

3D rotor tests : Phase 2 2007 3D rotor in cavitation tunnel

As a continuation of the first set of tests to provide further detailed design information and validation date for numerical models a new experimental test rig was developed. This test rig has been designed, built and successfully used to measure power and thrust on model tidal turbines under various configurations and flow conditions. The setup ...

Initial 3D tests : Phase 1 2006

A scale model a horizontal axis marine current turbine was tested at the circulating water channel facility at QinetiQ in Hampshire. The model was scaled such that the ratios of the rotor diameter/water depth and the blade tip speed/inflow speed were equal to that of a full scale device. The three bladed rotor depicted was ...

2D Modelling of Tidal Currents 2006

Portland Bill on the South coast of the UK (view in maps.live.com) is a promising site for tidal stream energy, with high tidal stream velocities of up to seven knots (3.6 m/s) around the headland. Although the area with high tidal streams is smaller than other proposed sites in Scotland or the Channel Islands, the ...

2D Blades Tests 2005 Image of developed cavaition

Section performance data, which also include cavitation characteristics, are required for the detailed design of the turbine blades. It is found that suitable published data, with cavitation characteristics, are very limited and that there is a need to establish a better understanding of the cavitation performance of 2-D sections suitable for marine turbines. It is ...

Initial Alderney Tidal Race Study 2005 2005

The Race of Alderney lies between the channel island of Alderney and Cap de la Hague on the West coast of France. It is a large site and has the possibility of feeding electricity into the channel Island of French mainland grids. The Race is approximately 4 miles wide and there are large areas with ...