Risk and cost mitigation through determination of tidal turbine loading under real turbulent tidal flow conditions

Principal Investigator
Dr. Dominic Groulx, Dalhousie University, Department of Mechanical Engineering

Email: dominic.groulx@dal.ca
Website: lamte.me.dal.ca

NRC Collaborator
Julien Cousineau, P.Eng., MASc. Research Engineer Ocean, Coastal and River Engineering

Project description

Water exerts forces (loads) on a tidal turbine that are orders of magnitudes greater than loads encountered on wind turbine. Tidal companies still do not have accurate and validated ways of determining expected loads on their turbine during the design stages which leads to either poorly built system that fail prematurely, or overdesigned/overbuilt systems that exponentially increase capital and marine operation costs. This lack of accurate information on spatio-temporal load variations on blade turbines is considered one of the major design risk factors from an engineering point of view, which leads to higher insurance cost on the operation of tidal devices.

The objective of this project is to build on the applicants’ labs’ ability to model and test hydrokinetic turbines to determine local and time-variant turbine blade loads based on real-tidal transient flow. Numerical modeling will be used to perform this long-term research project, with validation from experimental data that will be obtained in part by the PhD candidate.


  • Seeking a mechanical engineer, with a master’s degree or equivalent that qualifies for the PhD program at Dalhousie University
  • Interest in renewable energy and tidal power with knowledge in fluid mechanics and numerical modelling (ANSYS CFX preferably)

Position is still open.