Physical and Numerical Array Modelling

Physical and Numerical Modelling are essential elements in the development process for
wave and tidal technologies. They are used to advance devices through the Technology
Readiness Levels (TRLs) from an initial design concept (TRL1) to a commercial
technology (TRL9). Much of the work to date regarding modelling has been in relation to
single device technologies with very little attention given to array design layout
optimisation to maximise power output and understand interactions. The Lir NOTF has
one of the only wave tanks in Europe that is capable of testing wave energy arrays where
tank effects (wave reflection, wave radiation from devices etc) are minimised. The Ocean
Wave Basin as well as the Deep Ocean tank will be used extensively throughout the
project and the output from the test programme, which will validate numerical models, will
advance the state of the art in relation to wave energy array design. The tanks will be used
mostly for WP6 testing, but will also be used in WP5 and 7 test applications.
Therefore the specific objectives are:
1. Numerically model wave and tidal energy array configurations to determine issues
and constraints in relation to layout optimisation.
2. Undertake physical model testing of wave energy array layouts in the Ocean
Wave Basin in UCC
3. Undertake physical and numerical testing to validate the pilot designs prior to
deployment (As also required in WP5)

Targets achieved in deliverable
 Employment increase in supported enterprises: 1 out of 4:
 SU will be employing a dedicated Physical and numerical modeller and this post is
expected to be permanent after the project
 Number of enterprises cooperating with research institutions: 3 (the tools will be trialled with
2 technology developers (beta testing), 1 enterprise will collaborate with the generic wave
array tank testing.)
 1 out of 4 New to market products,
 1 out of 8 new to the firm products
 SU will be brining one new array model product

Description of work
T6.0 Work package coordination (*UCC): liaising with project coordinator. Making sure
all deliverables are delivered on time.
T6.1 Development and Application of Modelling Approach for Array Developments
This task will examine the current capabilities and constraints of using Numerical
modelling tools for the development of wave and tidal energy technology. It will determine
the range and sequencing of models that are required as a device moves through the
TRLs and set out a modelling approach for wave and tidal arrays. Such an approach will
involve different levels of modelling such that to quantitatively determine, device
interactions, wake effects, environmental impacts etc. This will lead to the development
of modelling scenarios using Irish and Welsh case study sites where the modelling
approach will be applied and from it will come recommendations on the suitability of the
approach as well recommendations on wave and tidal energy array layouts. Examples of
possible modelling scenarios are outlined below
Wave specific
 Further development of wave array interaction tools and development of model set

up data sets for the Pembrokeshire demonstration zone. This will aid the micro-
siting and layout of projects in the zone.

 Develop improved virtual models of the pilot technologies, to cross validate against
physical testing and to inform scale up.
 Linking of potential flow models to mild slope equation models to examine array
impacts and possible benefits in relation to surfing, aquaculture, fishing, coastal
erosion etc.
Tide specific
 Development of a high fidelity CFD model of the Morlais tidal demonstration zone
to aid micro-siting of projects in the zone. Dependent on the level of detail required,
this may be a part of the zone or the whole region. This complements existing
oceanographic models of the zone that have been created in other projects.
 Development of extended blade element disk turbine representation inside the
OpenFoam open source software code. Use of this tool to explore array layout
optimisation with IW tidal development companies.
Both UCC, SU and GDG process a range of open source and commercial software tools
and these will be used to undertake the various modelling required for this task.
T6.2 Physical Model Testing in Lir tank: Generic Wave Energy Arrays (*UCC, SU)
This task focuses on physical model testing methods for wave energy arrays. It generally
it is not feasible to model tidal arrays at scale. The work will firstly examine existing testing
approaches and their limitations such that a protocol for array testing can be developed
and applied.
The tank testing will involve: design and build of physical scaled models of the array of
generic wave energy devices. Test the scaled array designs in the Lir ocean tank and
Deep ocean tank under various controlled conditions. Retrieval of the models for recycling.
Analysis of the data.
The application of the numerical model via a scaled physical model in a tank test
simulation will allow the influence of array layout on power production to be determined
and recommendations made on optimum configurations that will minimise LCoE

T6.3 Numerical and Physical Modelling related to Pilot Case studies in the Lir tank
The selected pilot case studies will require both numerical and physical modelling in order
to validate the de-risking of the technologies in relation to the application of Selkie methods
prior to field deployments. This work will be planned and undertaken in this task and given
that there will not be advanced knowledge of the nature of the pilot technologies, will
supply further verification of the approaches developed and/or validation of certain
subsystems such as power take offs or mooring systems. The pilot deployments will
subsequently supply real data in terms of the accuracy of the methods developed and
recommendations can be made in relation to a wider range of technologies that are
suitable for deployment in the IW marine space.

D6.1 Report on existing Physical and Numerical models for wave and tidal technologies
D6.2 Modified Physical and Numerical models for Irish and Welsh wave and tidal
technologies and locations, Open Access
D6.3 Wave pilot: Numerical model recommendations, Physical modeling test results, and
validation report
D6.4 Tidal pilot: Numerical model recommendations, Physical modeling test results, and
validation report

SELKIE coordinator location

Name: Gordon Dalton

Centre for Marine and Renewable Energy Ireland (MaREI).
Environmental Research Institute, Beaufort Building
Ringaskiddy, Co. Cork.

Email & Telephone
Telephone: +353 (0) 21 486 4300

Follow Us On Twitter Now Or Tweet Us Directly


SELKIE would like the support of key stakeholders in the MRE sector. If you feel that the outputs would benefit you if you would like to be involved in one of the pilot projects please get in touch with either :

(UCC Cork) Gordon Dalton
(UCC Cork) TJ Horgan
(Swansea U) Ian Masters