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Turbulence in Marine Environments: New Guidance Released

New guidance released on Turbulence in Marine Environments to improve understanding and reduce risk for the tidal energy industry.

The TiME project consortium announced today that the Guidance formulated from the TiME (Turbulence in Marine Environments) project has now been released.

Turbulence Intensity (
Turbulence Intensity (

The project, funded by the Scottish Government and managed by the Carbon Trust through the Marine Renewables Commercialisation Fund (MRCF) Array Technology Innovation Programme, was developed to improve the understanding of the effect of marine turbulence on tidal arrays in Scottish waters.

Turbulence was measured by Partrac in the challenging tidal environments of both the Sound of Islay and the Inner Sound, Pentland Firth, using novel methods and technologies so that each can be evaluated, and turbulence could be mapped across differing tidal energy development sites. ABPmer then incorporated the data in resource characterisation, Ocean Array Systems (OAS) has provided turbulence characterisation and hydrodynamic analyses, and IT Power has contributed their knowledge of engineering design, device performance and tidal turbine array modelling. The project team used this wealth of information and research to develop Turbulence Guidance through extensive engagement with the tidal energy industry.

Project outcomes

New methods have been developed and tested to measure and characterise turbulence. Data from these new methods were then used to show that designing tidal turbines and array layouts to the true turbulence existing at different points in a site could lead to significant cost reductions.

Turbulence Selector (

Full details are in the Guidance documents which can be obtained at The guidance will also be submitted to the wave and tidal knowledge network, a platform hosted by the ORE Catapult. The TiME project will also be represented in a pre-conference workshop at the International Tidal Energy Summit (ITES) at the Hilton Tower Bridge, London, UK, on Monday 23rd November, 2015.

Sam Athey, a Director and co-owner at Partrac, said “This has been an exciting and challenging project to manage. With the successful attainment of 100% data return from innovative turbulence measurement surveys, and assessment and classification of turbulence by our expert partners at OAS, ABPmer, and IT Power, the project team has developed Guidance that provides a framework for the tidal industry to measure, classify and analyse turbulence for commercial tidal arrays.”

Guy Henley, project manager of the MRCF Array Technology Innovation Programme at the Carbon Trust commented: “The Guidance formulated by the project team is comprehensive and provides a solid understanding of the impact of turbulence on tidal arrays, which is a critical aspect of realising commercial scale tidal arrays. We are confident the industry will find it invaluable for their developments.”

Dr Tom Clark of Ocean Array Systems added “The project has mapped in detail the effects that marine turbulence has on tidal power installations. We demonstrated a practical and efficient end-to-end process for measuring, characterising and simulating the effect of site-specific turbulence. Finally, assessment of its impact on engineering design considerations highlighted the importance of properly accounting for turbulence – especially in considering yield and fatigue lifetimes”.

For more information on the project contact Sam Athey, Project Director


About the MRCF Array Technology Innovation Programme

The Array Technology Innovation Programme (ATIP) is part of the Marine Renewable Commercialisation Fund (MRCF), a £9m Scottish Government programme managed by the Carbon Trust. The ATIP is expected to the run until December 2015 and aims to provide a step change in cost reduction for first marine energy arrays through the support of novel enabling technologies (e.g. not direct device development). Direct dissemination of findings will occur through reports, guidance documents, lesson learned workshop and briefs, and where possible feed into standards.


Partrac is a marine data acquisition company specialising in oceanographic, environmental and marine geosciences surveys. We have built a reputation for delivering high-quality data for complex engineering and environmental projects in challenging environments. We work with a range of clients including dredging companies, offshore renewable developers, utilities and environmental consultants worldwide. For more information please visit the Partrac website:


ABP Marine Environmental Research Ltd (ABPmer) is a leading UK marine environmental consultancy that has been managing and contributing to environmental studies for over 60 years. They have been supporting the offshore renewables sector with technical and scientific research for more than a decade.

ABPmer is a recognised provider of technical knowledge and input to the development of guidance and standards for the renewables sector. The company co-authored the CIRIA Guidelines for the use of metocean data for marine renewables (C666) and most recently helped BSI to develop good practice guidance in marine renewable impact assessment. For more information, go to

Ocean Array Systems

Ocean Array Systems (OAS) is an innovative software business with expertise in turbulence and simulation. OAS has developed state-of-the-art turbine simulation software, ‘TurbineGrid’. This software is highly versatile, allowing it to be coupled with other engineering simulation software (e.g. to incorporate blade control systems, platform motion, drive train dynamics, electrical power systems models, etc). OAS also has a software toolbox for robust characterisation of turbulent flow from site measurements.

Using these tools, loads due to turbulence – as well as other unsteady flow effects such as wake interactions and wave impingement – can be characterised for marine energy devices. These effects can have profound effect on component lifetimes and structural requirements. For more information go to

IT Power

IT Power is a world leading renewable energy consultancy focused on technology development, engineering and project advisory. The company was originally founded in 1981, headquartered in the UK with global offices in Australia, China, India, and Kenya. Its expertise in marine energy technology development and consulting dates back to 1991. Their track record of excellence in R&D led to the successful launch of several marine energy technologies, bringing on concepts to pre-commercial status such as the landmark installation of the world’s first commercial scale marine current turbine in 2003.

Today IT Power is at the fore-front of marine energy consulting offering comprehensive technical engineering design, numerical modelling, prototype installation and testing, technical due diligence, and Front End Engineering Design. They offer project support services to technology and project developers including environmental scoping, grid connection assessments, resource assessments and array modelling. They also advise private clients on their strategic market business plans as well as governmental organisations on their techno-economic feasibility assessments for marine energy. For more details, please visit:

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