Development through cutting edge design


Turbine Computational Fluid Dynamics Simulation

By Cristina González, Project Manager, AST Engineering.

The AST team are highly motivated to be working on the WEDUSEA project. For AST Engineering this is a very exciting, ambitious and challenging project.

AST INGENIERÍA S.L. (Advanced Simulation Technologies S.L.), was established in Gijón (Northern Spain) in 2002. It is an engineering company that focusses on the development of projects through the use of simulation technology.

In 2012 – 2013, AST Engineering developed its first Wells turbine for wave power generation (WAVETUR project). The WAVETUR project saw the following actions: design of a Wells turbine, manufacture of a prototype and its testing under real operating conditions to harness marine wave energy.

In 2014 – 2015, AST Engineering developed the TIDALTUR project consisting of the development of axial and crossflow turbines for the use of marine and river current resources at competitive costs.

To date, the company has designed and optimised several turbines, axial fans (up to 5MW) and generators for different industries, which has created a great deal of knowledge about possible operating strategies, control strategy optimisation and design optimisation, as well as the use of different materials according to their operating conditions.

Our Role in the WEDUSEA project

Within WEDUSEA, AST Engineering is leading the design of the 1 MW Wells turbine, which will be installed in the OE35 device and tested at EMEC’s Orkney facility. AST Engineering is the main company responsible for the turbine and air flow control system (relief valves subsystem) design, manufacturing supervision, factory testing, integration at the marshalling site and on-site system commissioning.

The OE Buoy device is a floating oscillating water column (OWC) with a large, partially submerged, chamber open to the sea and filled with water up to more or less the external water line. The water pressure fluctuations in the chamber due to the wave motion combined with the body motion of the device causes varying pressure in the air plenum. This plenum is connected to an air turbine and the air is forced in and out through the Wells turbine during the wave cycle. This flow of air spins the turbine to generate electricity, it is a self-rectifying turbine, so it spins in one direction for both cycles.

As a self-rectifying air turbine, it has only one moving part which is the rotor connected to the electrical generator. This makes the turbine highly reliable with only two mechanical bearings requiring limited maintenance. This turbine will be coupled with an innovative air control system in the plenum chamber. This is to prevent stalling and increase efficiency as well as to protect the machinery from extreme conditions.

The design of the Wells turbine assembly, its shut-off valve and the four relief valves (that act as an air relief system when the pressure in the chamber exceeds a certain pressure value) is tremendously complex.

The main objective is to increase turbine efficiency of the Primary Power Take-off System from 70% to 75% by the use of improved Wells turbine design and Air Flow Control System with the associated control strategies.

At AST Engineering, we are very excited to take on this challenge, at the cutting edge of design.

Desire to realise the potential of wave energy

Among the various renewable energy resources, wave energy shows great potential in bridging the gap between the carbon reduction and the increasing energy demand. It is a relatively untapped resource, with the global wave resource in the range 1–10 TW.

Wave energy can provide utility-scale power production and it works very well in tandem with other renewables such as wind. It is also a clean, effective alternative to fossil fuel energy production.

At AST Engineering, it is our desire to help develop a commercialisation pathway within the WEDUSEA project that will increase the market uptake of wave energy and contribute to the 2050 NET ZERO target.

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Disclaimer: Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are, however, those of the authors only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or CINEA. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.