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Numerical modeling of a river site for in-stream energy


E. Lalander1 and M. Leijon1
1 The Swedish Center for Renewable Electric Energy Conversion,
Division of electricity,
Department of Engineering Sciences,
Uppsala University,
Box 534, SE-751 21 Uppsala, Sweden

Abstract ηA = Measured water level (deviation from mean)[m]
ηL = Lake water level [m]
Current measurement in the river Dalälven, situated ηM = Simulated water level [m]
in Sweden, was compared with flow values. These were ηM∗ = Simulated water level extracted at ADCP location [m]
also used to validate a numerical simulation of the chan- ρ = Density of water [kg/m3 ]
nel. The results showed the numerical program was able Q = Flow from power station [m3 /s]
to assess the current speed variations, but the magnitude Si j = Deformation rate [m2 /s]
of the current speed was slightly lower than the measured τ~b = Bottom friction [N/m2 ]
values, a possible effect of bathymetry errors. The wa- ~uM = Simulated horizontal velocity[m/s]
ter level variations were not correctly assessed, which is UA = Measured current speed [m/s]
probably due to that wind data was excluded. UM = Simulated horizontal current speed [m/s]
The numerical program was used to evaluate how UM∗ = Simulated current speed extracted at ADCP location [m/s]
V = Velocity acted on a turbine [m/s]
large the effects on the surrounding water level and cur-
νt = Horizontal eddy viscosity [m2 /s]
rent speed can be for a set of ten turbines distributed
evenly along the channel. To investigate how the hy-
drography of the channel is affected by energy extrac-
tion, a set of ten turbines distributed evenly along the
1 Introduction
channel were put into the numerical model. It showed River flows are formed by atmospheric precipitation
that extracting 75 kW would increase the water level and the magnitude of the flow also varies with season.
at the power station (upstreams) from the level at the At high latitudes (>60◦ N), during winter, the precipita-
same place without any turbines with 5.5%, and 135 tion is locked as snow, and during spring time the water
kW would lead to an 8.8% increase, assuming a constant is released as the atmospheric temperature increases. In
water level at the downstream boundary. With increas- unregulated river courses the flow peaks at spring time as
ing cd -values, the velocity around the turbines increases, snow melts in the mountains and is reasonably constant
while it decreases at the turbine. the rest of the year. In regulated rivers which are con-
trolled by hydropower, the flow can be controlled by the
Keywords: numerical modeling, river, energy conversion
use of dams and varies with, among other factors, elec-
tricity consumption. In these rivers, the flow can vary
Nomenclature greatly within minutes, which can have a negative im-
Ae = Turbine area [m2 ] pact on downstream constructions.
cd = Turbine drag coefficient In Sweden, one of the main energy sources is hy-
cf = Bottom drag coefficient dropower, and most rivers are regulated. With the aim
cs = Smagorinsky coefficient of finding new sources for the production of electricity
d = Still water depth [m] in Sweden, together with the fact that river exploitation
Ft = Effective drag force by a turbine [N]
by conventional hydropower is reaching a maximum, in-
g = Acceleration due to gravity [m/s2 ]
h = Total water depth [m]
terest in other renewable energy sources has increased.
l = Grid length scale [m] Only between 2006 and 2007 the installed wind power
M = Manning number [m1/3 /s] increased by 40% [1]. Even in regulated rivers there are
watercourses with high kinetic energy density as will be

c Proceedings of the 8th European Wave and Tidal Energy discussed in this paper. With this background an assess-
Conference, Uppsala, Sweden, 2009 ment of the kinetic energy resource in Swedish rivers is


good for a period of 24 days. Since the ensemble in- The river originates in the west of Sweden in the moun. but the information can be mutually valuable for both research areas. and water level. 1200 kHz charts where the tidal current speed has been calculated 600 kHz by tidal constituents. located approximately 20 km up. were de- 2 Site description and measurement ployed for one month in the channel 800 m downstream There are approximately 15 rivers with a flow rate of of a hydropower station. ergy converters. and flows eastward having its outflow at 60◦ N. sometimes parabolic shape 6 m deep and 100 m wide close to the exceeding 200 mm/s. Numerical methods have been used in e. Power station This was utilized in [6] to measure wave induced short (flow readings) time fluctuations. to a low depth. At section of the channel varies from a rectangular shape this occasion the instrument was deployed at a very shal- with a depth of ten meters and width of 30–60 m. By including a set of 10 turbines it was possible to estimate how energy extraction could affect 2. and in [7] to compare with a numerical (b) Map of site. the current velocity was sampled with an ADCP in a Swedish river during lake. in [4] where (a) Outline map of Sweden. resulting in large error velocity. 1(b). Data from water gauging stations ADCP measurements have been used to validate these models. During the measurement with more than 100 m3 /s in Sweden. However. varying total depth deviation from the mean depth is the stream of the river’s outlet in the sea. ceived per hour. denoted ηA . ten measurement readings were re- tains. The 600 kHz instru- nel is 1 km long and it discharges into a lake. although this has gained in- creased attention in the past years. having their discharge into the The measurement series for the 600 kHz ADCP was Baltic sea above 61◦ N. Dalälven (Dal River). whereas real time current speed data are rarely used. The chosen chan. Less com- mon is to extract the kinetic energy in river flows using in-stream mounted turbines. The aim of this work is to compare measured data to predictions from a numerical model and to increase the Figure 1: Maps over the measurement site. input to these models has been data from sea. 50 pings to make one ensemble.1 Data the surrounding water levels and velocity. model of the tidal energy resource. terval was 6 minutes. The ADCP uses an average of in the northernmost one of these. The time- the city of Söderfors. Most of these rivers are the 1200 kHz ADCP external forces interrupted the data exploited by hydropower and the majority are situated series at two occasions. Water in rivers flows downhill driven by potential en- ergy. see Fig.g. and various methods to do this are described in [2]. one 1200 kHz and one 600 kHz. although smaller in scale. Stockholm The extraction of kinetic energy from moving water is highly dependent on the current speed and for a resource assessment it is therefore important that the nature of the flow is accurately described. lated depths and the location for the deployment of the ADCPs are shown. resulting in three series of data.of interest. an Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) can be used. In order to do that. There are three bridges along the channel and the one month. measured water level. effects of tidal energy extraction at Portland Bill was estimated and in [5] where the extractable resource in Lake Johnston Strait was calculated using a numerical model. In (b) the interpo- understanding of the resource for in-stream current en. [3] where time series of the veloc- ity around Portland Bill were produced. in the north of Sweden. The concepts are similar to tidal energy systems. The cross ment is meant to operate at depths greater than 20 m. To measure ve- locity variations in time over an entire water column. Two of the largest rivers do how. total The current velocity was measured in a channel by depth is also measured at 6 minute interval. Due to the built-in pressure sensor. The velocity data from this instru- 827 2 . Measurement parameters ever discharge below 61◦ N and the measurement site lies are presented in Table 1. This potential energy has traditionally been con- verted to electricity by hydropower turbines. To measure the velocities two ADCPs from RD In- struments. The velocity measurements were compared bridge furthest downstream was chosen as the measure- with numerical simulations of the site and data of flow ment site.

The main equations are well described Bin size 0. sumed to vary quadratically with the velocity above the bottom according to 0.5 m 2. 600 400 m3 /s 200 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 year Figure 2: Weekly averaged flow in the channel by Söderfors 2003 .25 m 0. Figure 4: Regression plot between hour averaged ADCP cur- rent speed and flow. Duration of deployment 33 days 29 days Standard deviation 96 mm/s 119 mm/s 3.2 . but the water level readings In Mike21 Flow model FM [8]. bottom friction is as- were used to compare with the 1200 kHz ADCP.2007. Table 1: ADCP measurement parameters.5–6 m presented below.5 m in [8] and are therefore omitted from this work. The Measured depth range 4. The govern- Ensemble interval 6 min 6 min ing equations are the well known depth averaged shal- Pings/ensemble 50 50 low water model.5 m equations used to describe the conditions at the site are ADCP depth 6. Frequency 1200 kHz 600 kHz only basic properties such as bottom stress. Fig 3.1 Theory ment has thus been omitted.5–7 m 5.


1200 kHz .


600 kHz τ~b = ρ c f u~M .

u~M .

Hourly water level measured in the downstream lake The horizontal eddy viscosity. sediment The studied area was modeled with a flexible mesh transport. The yearly flow variation. according to data was taken from a water gauge station in the down- p stream lake (not on the map). the owners of the Lateral turbulence is modeled using a sub–grid scale hydropower station upstream of the sampling location. a 2D numerical program. (2) tion on the accuracy of the data. νt . 3 Numerical modeling 2 ∂ x j ∂ xi To model the river.2 Mh1/6 18/2. c f . The teristic length scale (grid length scale). M as −0.18 h is the total depth which is the sum of the still water depth. . The meshed domain includes 2518 nodes and 4652 elements.g. The hourly averaged flow channel.1 The drag coefficient. but there was no informa. d and water level deviation from this. 0. 2) . (1) −0.2 Model setup from the DHI Group in Sweden was used. 828 3 . but the simulations were performed including system. seen in Fig. and the shape of the channel [9]. 3. ηM . Mike21.23.1 g cf = 2 . shows a where cs is the Smagorinsky coefficient and Si j is the mean flow of 300 m3 /s and a maximum flow that exceeds deformation rate given by 600 m3 /s.21. 1  ∂ ui ∂ u j  Si j = + (i. l. νt = c2s l 2 2Si j S ji . Manning number represents the bottom surface rough- ness and is the resistance to flow in channels. data was provided by Vattenfall AB. can be calculated using the 0 m Manning number. e. j = 1. 2. The program is capable of modeling various processes. horizontal eddy viscosity concept as proposed in [10].18 28/2. is related to a charac- were received from Fortum AB and is denoted ηL . allowing variable sized mesh where desired. The Figure 3: Water level measured by the two ADCPs. It depends The data from the ADCP was compared with flow on factors such as the type and size of the material of the and water level readings.

which is a result of spatial in turn decreases the velocity. which were deployed in be. by each turbine can be calculated using 4. Figure 5: Turbine configuration. and no accuracy is available. creases. Since it is a dredged channel and the surrounding area is of sand and gravel. sured data.1 Validation of the numerical model P = Ft V. the extracted power in. flow. The two open boundaries T5 T8 were the power station (south) and the lake (north). the numerical model is two-dimensional and effects on the surrounding flow Simulation Validation field can be expected to be somewhat different. at these values the devices could be regarded as pillars The simulation was performed to compare with mea- since no flow is passing through. In this study. ηL was applied at the second boundary. The effects on the water level and velocity bathymetry data being rather scarce. Bathymetry data. Further simulations were done to estimate current speed for different flow rates with and without including turbines.28 rounding flow. the Manning number was set to 32 m1/3 s−1 which corresponds to a rather smooth sur. tion boundary. T4 Data from the numerical model was extracted at the T1 location of the two ADCPs. ity in the channel depends mostly on the flow. T9 face [9. 1(b). The level data for the lake (ηL ) was received sepa- Note that V is the velocity experienced by the turbine. It can be seen in Fig. cd . T10 The simulations were executed as shown in Table 2 to T7 validate the numerical model. Nr of time steps 2500 A set of 10 turbines were included in the model and South boundary Q (Fig 6(a)) distributed pair-wise along the channel (Fig. 2 was set to 0. [12]. and it is thus not real. Turbines can be added in the model averaged ADCP data and flow readings seen from the and are then assumed to induce a drag force. extracting energy. 2 rent speed in the channel. The power extraction variations of the lake water level. and cs in Eq. (3) The above mentioned results indicate that the veloc- As the value of cd increases. was received from mea- Each turbine had a quadratic cross section area. 11]. Flow T6 readings for February were used at the first boundary and T3 water level for February at the second. As an input to the model both the Manning number and a value for the Smagorinsky formulation is required. maps and drawings for the area. the received flow readings were applied at the power sta- since the velocity goes toward zero (Fig. 5).28. and due to the interruption during measure- istic to apply very high values of cd . The distance was approximately ten di- ameters in between each row. However. since it Time period 090204 – 090228 is possible to account for wake effects and a velocity in- Time step 360 s crease around the turbines. Ae is the effective area of the turbine on which V acts. on the correlation coefficient.g. 3. V . which pendently from each other. surements.94 as seen in Fig. ments. 6(c) that ηA and ηL vary inde- cient. the simulation was only run for existing sets of Turbines were modeled as a retarding force on the data. Due to the see Table 3. The North boundary ηL (Fig 6(c)) structure of the farm has not been optimized to give max- Manning number 32 m1/3 s−1 imum power output. increases the blockage effect on the flow. for several flow rates and cd -values. but to simulate effects on the sur- cs 0. the velocity in the channel would decrease in total when 829 4 . Ft . but this effect is diminished at high values of cd . The same parameters for n and cs were used. it is considered one in the channel for the turbine setup could be calculated of the greatest sources of errors for the simulation. The correlation value 1 indicates the flow data is good to use to describe the cur- Ft = ρ cd AeV 2 . Thus. This explains the gap in the Mike21 series in Fig. Table 2: Mike 21 parameters. T2 tween and slightly downstream two pillars. UM . 7). The drag coeffi. R2 . 4. This is calculated according to This could be expected due to the proximity of the mea- surement site to the power station. The one-dimensional model indicated 6. and not the undisturbed velocity. flow in e.3 Including turbines 4 Results and discussion In this study the interest is in estimating how the wa- ter level and velocity along the channel are affected by There is a good correlation between measured hourly energy extraction. Fig. rately from the flow values. of 0. Ae .

the power output for three flow rates. Although ηM∗ at to apply a cd -value above 1 for realistic simulations. 0 T9 0 10 20 30 40 T10 50 Mike data ADCP data T8 90 5000 90 4000 120 60 120 60 2500 30 2000 30 90 150 150 180 0 180 0 60 0. but not the water level deviations. creased cd -value will decrease the flow through the tur- The rose plot in Fig. UM∗ and UA ) com- pared with flow at power station.9 30 T4 kW 20 T5 0. The and increased turbine drag resulted in a decreased veloc- maximum variation (max(η ) – min(η )) of ηA was 0.7 T6 11/2 18/2 28/2 10 T7 T8 (a) Current speed.2 Turbine influence measured and modeled current direction data (c) Water level at The power output from each turbine was calculated the bridge (ηL and ηA ) compared with water level at the lake for different cd . is presented. 3.2 (b) Rose plot. This is probably due to bathymetry er. small cd . 0 10 20 30 40 50 c d ηA 0. 7.2 ηM∗ ηL Figure 7: Top: Effects of cd on power output modeled in Mike21 at a flow of 500 m3 /s. Therefore. the measured one. the maximum kinetic energy is 50 kW. the flow direc. but no such data was available.2 11/2 18/2 28/2 The model assesses the current speed reasonably (c) Water level. the power output starts decreasing. Maintaining a constant flow in the channel. −0. able to simulate the magnitude of the water level. 300 m3 /s (mean). Using more ac- curate bathymetry data and including other parameters such as wind data over the lake could have improved Figure 6: Mike data extracted from the measurement location by the bridge and ADCP data from the 1200 kHz instrument. Maximum power for each tur- bine is denoted by *. well. a result of an enhanced flow at the sides of the tur- viation in the modeled current direction compared with bine. boundary. the driving force is a 830 5 . It is thus not recommended (ηA ) water level deviations from mean. as is the case data from the simulation was extracted from a location for turbine T1. The ADCP was located downstream a Maximum power for each turbine in a flow of 500 m3 /s few bridge pillars where the flow is turbulent. For turbine T1 and T2 this value is reached already at a Fig. show- closely. but the magnitude of the simulated current speed ing the total power output is more than 10 times higher is slightly lower.13 m. Here. As mentioned previously.4 270 270 0 0.8 m/s kN 210 330 210 330 0. Bottom: Force and velocity at turbine T8 m 0 with increasing cd . In Table 3. these results. bathymetry could be improved by more measurements.47 ity in the whole channel. 6(c) shows the simulated (ηM∗ ) and measured cd -value in between 1 and 2. there were some difficul. the model is not In [12] the model was forced by a varying water level. 6 shows there is a slight de. culation using P = 12 ρ AeU 3 shows that for a velocity of tion can vary. an in- changes in the bathymetry greatly alter the flow field. The The power is proportional to the force of the turbine. At a certain cd . slightly different than from the measured one. UA 1. (b) Rose plot between 4. In the same figure it is seen that UM∗ follows UA 500 m3 /s and 700 m3 /s ( maximum). m while for ηM∗ the maximum variation was 0. Comparing this plot with simple cal- depending on the cross-channel position. Q. ties in re-creating the bathymetry due to scarce data. The deviation can be a result of that the 1 m/s and a cross sectional area of 100 m2 . times shows the same variation as ηA .1 280 flow / m3/s 40 T2 m/s T3 0. (a) Current speed at the bridge (left axis. bine.and flow values using Eq. which in turn depends on Qt2 (through the turbine) and At the shallow depths as in the present channel. flow.3 UM∗ 380 Q 50 330 T1 1. in the case for maximum flow as compared to the mean rors.6 30 240 300 240 300 0. is plotted in Fig.

The results showed that power extraction and In Fig. surrounding water level are shown in Fig.06 m 0.2% increase of the water level respectively.3 cd=0. tion. 0 T1. For a case with no flow.8. Figure 9: Velocity field in the channel for the case of 10 tur- The effects of this particular turbine configuration on bines. This corresponds to a 5.6 5. constant flow. Bottom: Change in water level calculated as the difference from the case of no turbines. When simulating the turbine influ- area is highest for T7 and T8. Note.10 Figure 8: Effects of turbines on the water level along the chan- nel for different cd – values and a flow is 500 m3 /s. cd = 10. 8 for flow rate of 500 m3 /s. the hydrography is altered when extracting kinetic en- however. which is a questionable assump- and a 8. and the largest extraction rate can be found It should be noted that for the parameters used in the at the location of strongest currents.2 T3. the whole chan- 831 6 . Top: In- crease from the value at the lake.4 T5.4 (75 kW) and 3 The modeled turbines have not been limited to a max- cm for a cd of 0.4 T5. channel. Modeling of turbine effects was performed both with (b) 10 turbines. 8). that this result regards a constant water level at ergy. indicating T1 and T2 ex. The flow field zero everywhere.4 cd=0.6 3. When including 10 speed through the turbine and a few diameters down- turbines the water level at the power station is increased stream.8 T9.02 (a) No turbines. the same flow must pass through all sections in channel. the velocity. the model was not able to correctly assess sented values are per turbine.1 0 T1.5% imum power extraction. leading to an enhanced pressure force.6 cm using a cd of 0. However. Table 3: Power [kW] for three different flow rates.4 0. At a flow rate of 500 m3 /s and without around the turbines is modified locally.08 0. simulation. by an additional 1.8 T9. power per cross sectional stream the bridge. and not to study the theoretical potential of the the downstream boundary. In Table 3 the pre.1 32 kW Flow 500 m3 /s 48 19 23 32 12 135 kW Flow 700 m3 /s 123 48 60 81 32 344 kW 0. For continuity to be valid. The kinetic energy is proportional to the cube of on the chosen cd -value.04 0.10 0. the water level at the power station is 36 current speed around the turbines. this report was made to investigate how pared to the case without any turbines (Fig. Turbine T1+T2 T3+T4 T5+T6 T7+T8 T9+T10 Total Cross section m2 100 49 49 49 25 – Flow 300 m3 /s 11 4. com.8 m cd=1 0. and increasing the turbine drag leads to a higher water level upstream. hence the difference in water level could be extracted for different cd -values. and without turbines included.8 (135 kW). cd -value is 0. However.6 T7.6 7. 9 the velocity field around all turbines is effects on the upstream water level is highly dependent shown. which is coincident with ence on the hydrography of the channel. This is the prob- able reason for the high power values achieved when in- creasing the drag force.6 T7. the water level deviation at the measurement site down- tracts most power. and decreased flow cm higher than at the lake boundary. with enhanced any turbines.5 No turb 0.2 T3.2 cd=2 0. the water level is where strongest currents can be found.

Renewable done with the program Mike21.dhi. Research and Development. colleagues at The Swedish Centre for Renewable Elec- tric Energy Conversion for helping out with the measure. S. However. 832 7 .se. and C. 221:147–157. September 2007. V. The flow data was provided by Vat- tenfall AB (www. Bahaj. J. Tidal current resource assessment. which is thought extraction at Portland Bill. 2009. S. Proc. ergy Agency. using the specified level at the downstream lake. J. J. River cur- rent energy conversion system: Progress.5%. ments and for their valuable comments on this article. was able to assess the current speed variations. [12] I. and J. It [6] J. Effects of tidal energy modeled magnitude was slightly low. G. Water-supply paper WSP2339. Khan. S.8% increase. 2007. scientific documentation. [1] Vindkraftsstatistik 2007. Carballo. Blunden and A. Garrett. River mechanics. 2008. and G. [8] Mike 21 and Mike 3 flow model FM. Couch. Schneider. 5 Conclusion 12:2177–2193. Initial evaluation of tidal water level have been compared with 2D-simulations stream energy resources at Portland Bill. southern UK. pages 1–10. Norris and E. IMechE Part A: and to Antoine Baudoin for his initiation of the grid. EWTEC07. Measurements of current speed. resource description. Droniou. Castro. S. Choosing the appropriate [7] R. The Swedish En- ing an increase of water level due to energy extraction. E. Guide on select- The numerical program Mike21 was used with per. Melville. In Proceedings of level at the power station from the level without any the 7th European wave and tidal energy conference. but the [4] and water level readings [10] J. 91(3):99– was financed by Ångpanneföreningen’s Foundation for 164. G. Östkraft’s Environmental [11] Pierre Y. Sutherland. [5] G. and not to optimize energy extraction or to calculate the potential of the site. March 1963. Numerical model cd -value for each turbine is of major importance since evaluation of tidal stream energy resources in the Ría the effects on the hydrography is large. data was available. 2007. Blunden and A. This work primitive equations. and for this vice@energimyndigheten. Julien. UK.nel was considered. The simulation program Energy. Iqbal. In Proceedings of the 7th European not assess the water level deviations well. prospects and challenges. Monthly Weather Review. Journal of Power and Energy. and A. Quaicoe. 1984. 31(2):121–132. ES 2008:02. Arcement and V.fortum. current direction and [3] L. Vancouver studied. Owen. IMechE Part A: Journal of Power and En- how the upstream water level is affected input flow ergy. I would also like to thank my Press. 2008. de Muros (NW Spain). the results are still valid. den ( DHI. hydrodynamic and transport module. Update on EMEC activi- showed that extracting 75 kW would increase the water ties. Foreman. The set of turbines were chosen to experiment Island. For this the References model has not been validated. not only a single point. Renewable Energy. we are regard. [2] M. and characterisation of wave- induced velocities in a tidal flow. Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews. Tidal cur- Variation of the hydrography due to turbines was rent energy assessment for Johnstone Strait. and 135 kW EWTEC07. 221:125–135. Por- improved by adding wind data to the model. ing Manning’s roughness coefficients for natural chan- nels and flood plains. but no such tugal. would lead to an 8. 34(6):1517– 1524. Cambridge. Bryden. predicted from to be a result of bathymetry errors. publikationsser- and not the absolute value of the water level. Acknowledgments [9] G. Cambridge University Fund and Vattenfall AB. 2007. September 2007. and turbine drag is varied. mission from Stefan Ahlman at the DHI Group in Swe- Unites States Geological Survey. Portugal. turbines at the same location with 5. 2002. Iglesias. General circulation experiments with the are from FORTUM AB (www. M. M. R. The program could a numerical model. A. This could be wave and tidal energy conference.vattenfall. Porto. Porto. Bahaj. S. T. February 2006. Smagorinsky.