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Institute of Hydraulic Engineering

Research: Dept. of Hydraulic Engineering and Water Resources Management

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Integrated environmental and economical modelling of tidal renewable energy production
Project manager:Prof. Dr.-Ing. Silke Wieprecht
Deputy:Dr.-Ing. Walter Marx
Research assistants:Dipl.-Ing. Eva Fenrich, M.Sc.
Duration:1.7.2008 - 30.6.2010
Funding:German Academic Exchange Service - DAAD
Comments:

This project is part of the research area:
Wasserbau & Wasserkraft

MMM- Monitoring, Measuring and Modelling

Publications: Link

Abstract:

The aim of this project is to address fundamental issues regarding the interaction of marine renewable energy devices with the flow and the environment and also to look at the economical implications of tidal energy extraction from the estuary and related environmental cost. This project brings together experts from two highly regarded civil engineering departments with a long track record in their respective areas of expertise, to provide answers to fundamental questions regarding marine renewable energy.

Wales is well suited as a case study in the marine energy sector with considerable natural marine energy potential, a good base of heavy industrial companies to build devices, a number of relatively large ports with good facilities, strong university and governmental support, and a strong commitment to this area in the “Wales Energy Route Map”. Several marine renewable concepts are in the planning stage around the Welsh coastline at present. A tidal barrage across the Bristol Channel and tidal stream turbines are the two most promising technologies and these two scenarios will be used as case studies in this project. In this study investigations will be carried out to ascertain how energy devices will impact on the water levels and velocities in the Bristol Channel which, in turn, will affect the suspended sediment concentration distributions, the general water quality characteristics and therefore the benthic ecology and the general hydro-ecology of the estuary. This will be achieved by: (a) refining Cardiff University’s estuarine model DIVAST to predict the impact of a tidal barrage and operating tidal stream turbines on the hydrodynamic, sediment transport and water quality characteristic distributions in the Bristol channel, (b) refining Universität Stuttgart’s CASiMiR, WASKRA and Input-Output modelling tools and approaches to assess the influences of new tidal energy structures on habitats, to describe the tidal energy production and dependencies between economical and ecological aspects of the system and (c) analysing and linking the output from all modelling approaches creating a generic integrated physical, environmental and economical impact assessment approach of tidal renewables.