Marine currents, i.e. water currents in oceans and rivers, constitute a large renewable energy resource. This thesis presents research done on the subject of marine current energy conversion in a broad sense.
A review of the tidal energy resource in Norway is presented, with the conclusion that tidal currents ought to be an interesting option for Norway in terms of renewable energy.
The design of marine current energy conversion devices is studied. It is argued that turbine and generator cannot be seen as separate entities but must be designed and optimised as a unit for a given conversion site. The influence of support structure for the turbine blades on the efficiency of the turbine is studied, leading to the conclusion that it may be better to optimise a turbine for a lower flow speed than the maximum speed at the site.
The construction and development of a marine current energy experimental station in the River Dalälven at Söderfors is reported. Measurements of the turbine's power coefficient indicate that it is possible to build efficient turbines for low flow speeds. Experiments at the site are used for investigations into different load control methods and for validation of a numerical model of the energy conversion system and the model's ability to predict system behaviour in response to step changes in operational tip speed ratio.
A method for wake measurements is evaluated and found to be useful within certain limits. Simple models for turbine runaway behaviour are derived, of which one is shown by comparison with experimental results to predict the behaviour well.