Research Projects -2013-14


River Current Resource Assessment and Characterization Considering Ice Conditions

Lead: Hatch Ltd.


River currents  hold important energy potential for Canada and globally. Accurate and standardized resource assessments are an essential first step in implementing renewable energy projects, yet no guidelines or standards currently exist for such resource assessments. In Canada and other cold climates, the presence of river ice further complicates the establishment of technical feasibility, estimation of energy production and thus resource assessment for such projects. The assessment methodology being developed in this project will help accelerate the development of marine energy technical specification and standards currently being developed through IEC/TC 114. It will also complement ongoing work to assess national river current resource potential in Canada (National Research Council, Natural Resources Canada) and the US (Electric Power Research Institute).


  • Develop a practical, broadly-applicable methodology for river current resource assessment and
  • Address the impact of ice formation and dynamics on resource assessment.

The assessment methodologies will emphasize the reconnaissance stage of the resource assessment process and will be validated using extensive field data (bathymetry and hydrological survey) available from a previously-studied section of a major Canadian river.




Impact of channel blockage, free surface proximity and foundations on the performance of Tidal/River Energy Converters


Lead : Mavi Innovations Inc.
Collaborators : University of Victoria
Clean Current Power Systems 


IEC TS 62600-200 (Electricity producing tidal energy converters – Power performance assessment) recognizes that Tidal Energy Converter (TEC) performance may vary depending on the degree of flow restrictions within a channel. The performance of a TEC operating in a very wide and deep channel may therefore be different when compared to the case of the same TEC operating in a narrow and shallow channel. This effect is commonly referred to as blockage, and several studies have confirmed that turbine performance will improve with increasing blockage. Most studies, however, were limited to simplified channel geometries, using simplified turbine models and neglecting the impact of the water surface. As a result, insufficient data exists to provide firm guidance on acceptable levels of blockage within TS 62600-200. At this stage, the document simply requires that the testing location geometry be reported in detail, and that this geometry be consistent with typical future deployment sites. This project seeks to address this knowledge gap by building on existing work to quantify the effect of water surface proximity and foundations on turbine performance when affected by blockage.


• Develop a series of correction curves to account for blockage as a function of depth with and without inclusion of free surface;

• Investigate impact of foundations on blockage correction;

• Determine dependence of physical scale on thrust and wake of porous;

• Compare results using porous disks to an actual axial flow rotor;

• Provide recommendations to improve future versions of TS 62600-200. These recommendations will be in the form of a summary document of the work completed with proposed guidelines aimed at improving the existing reporting requirements related to blockage, foundations and proximity to the water surface. 


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