Hydrodynamics and the physical marine environment

Our research examines the hydrographic regimes of strong wave and tidal energy resource waters. We are building an understanding of the impacts on the environment, and resource characteristics of, marine energy devices.

Research themes

Large scale interactive coupled 3D modelling for wave and tidal energy resource and environmental impact

The development of computer based numerical models to simulate the effects of extracting energy using wave and tidal renewable energy devices. The project will use the Pentland Firth and the waters around Orkney to develop models to predict the physical and ecological consequences of wave and tidal energy extraction.

  • ICIT project: TeraWatt

Sub-mesoscale flow regime modelling and the influence of energy extraction at a tidal energy

This ETP PhD research is co-funded by Marine Scotland Science and co-supervised by Heriot-Watt and Strathclyde Universities with the principal aims:

  • to develop a SUNTANS model for a typical tidal stream energy site;
  • provide mesoscale to sub-mesoscale representation of the flow dynamics; and,
  • to validate this work against field data representative of the diurnal cycle flow perturbations.

The challenge is to determine the statistically valid degrees of resolution for the simulation that can be achieved with present understanding of the boundary conditions and the dynamic modelling techniques.

The model will be developed further to achieve a representative Marine Energy Model (MEM) addressing the effects of energy extraction.

  • ICIT project: SUNTANS

Analyses and reporting of a coastal wave test area regime

Development of in-house modeling packages for the analyses and reporting of an energetic wave regime - in this case EMEC's Billia Croo wave test area.

The package allows the complete analyses of data derived from directional wave rider buoys moored on the 50 metre contour on the wave test site.

Full scale testing of the dynamic response of mooring lines for wave energy convertors

Full-scale testing at sea of mooring lines to determine their dynamic response characteristics. The results provided validation of predictions of mooring system responses from physical model experiments and computer simulations, and allowed estimations of the drag and inertia coefficients that should be used in the dynamic analysis of mooring lines based on chain and synthetic rope.