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2.3 MECHANICAL ENGINEERING
The issues associated with Ireland’s over reliance on fossil fuels to meet energy demands have sparked an interest in renewable energy. Renewable energy resources typically are intermittent and vary significantly in energy intensity. Tidal energy however has the advantage of predictability over large time scales and high power densities. A study of Ireland's tidal-current-energy resource has identified several viable sites. As part of this resource assessment, Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers were installed at two locations along Ireland's west coast, at a site in the Bulls Mouth and the Shannon Estuary. The Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers measured tidal current speed and direction at 30 minute intervals over a 30 day period at a range of depths through the water column. This is the first time the measured data appears in the literature as it has only recently been made public. This paper presents tidal current speed and direction, frequency of occurrence of speed, tidal roses at several depths through the water column, and a comparison of theoretical tidal-current-speed profiles with measured data for a site in the Bulls Mouth and in the Shannon Estuary. The paper compares power density at both sites over a lunar month and also proposes a best fit power law exponent with the measured data through the water column. Finally, the paper presents an energetic performance comparison for a tidal current turbine operating at both sites. The data presented in this paper can be used in the design process to estimate the hydrodynamic and structural performance of a tidal current turbine operating under real-life conditions. The data can also be used to assess different control strategies and to design a tidal current turbine to suit the site-specific characteristics.
O’Rourke,F.,Boyle, F. & Reynolds, A. (2014) Ireland’s tidal energy resource; An assessment of a site in the Bulls Mouth and the Shannon Estuary using measured data, Energy Conversion and Management, Vol. 87, pp. 726-734, ISSN 0196-8904, doi:10.1016/j.enconman.2014.06.089