Date of Award

Winter 2022

Project Type


Program or Major

Ocean Engineering

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Martin Wosnik

Second Advisor

Erin Bell

Third Advisor

Thomas Lippmann


The adaptation of sustainable fluid energy conversion technologies, such as wind or tidalenergy, requires numerical modeling tools that are able to accurately predict device performance and loading in an effort to reduce the costs of turbines, deployment platforms and mooring structures. To validate models, data sets from turbines operating in real flow environments are required. Particularly for tidal energy, data sets of inflow (tidal current resource), power performance (electrical power and shaft speed), and thrust loading for any scale device are rare because the work to date has largely been funded by private developers and the data is not made publicly available. This “silos” the development of knowledge around operating devices to individual developers, which slows the pace of commercialization for the technology sector as a whole.

The research project presented here utilized an existing tidal turbine, a modified New EnergyCorp EVG-025 vertical axis cross flow turbine (3.2m dia. X 1.7m tall), deployed at the UNH Tidal Energy Test Site at the Memorial Bridge in Portsmouth, NH. Significant improvements were made to the existing system, including the first grid synchronous operation, the development of a new data acquisition system (DAQ) and adding time synchronization across new and existing DAQ’s to allow for accurate performance and load characterization of the device.

A significant data acquisition campaign was conducted during the fall of 2021, with over 750kWh hours of renewable tidal energy delivered to the NH grid during 29 days of turbine operation. Turbine power performance and thrust loading was characterized over a range of inflow operating conditions. Spectral analysis indicates the effects of turbulent structures on thrust loading and power output. The results further highlight the need for accurate instrument location and temporal resolution for accurate tidal resource characterization when siting new projects. This data set with all the concurrent measurements is sufficiently detailed for numerical model validation in real tidal flows. After significant quality control (QC) processing, the data set has been published in a public database, MHKR/PRIMRE. (Link: MHKDR-394)