The 3D printed aerofoil sections and blade prototypes are further tested in wind tunnel and water tunnel systems and towing tank facilities as shown in Figure 1. The wind tunnel helps to test the speed range of wind speed mimicking 10 m/sec and also provides access to large sections with wind velocity ranging up to 90 m/sec with a turbulence level of around 0.1%. The water tunnel helps study aerofoil and hydrofoils in water velocity of up to 0.6 m/sec with a turbulence level of above.
Tidal turbine test bed facility
A tidal turbine test bed shown in Figure 2 was launched at the Sentosa Boardwalk by the W&M team. The test bed has a dual role of facilitating the development of ERI@N’s marine energy technologies for regional conditions and contributing to Sentosa's green initiatives to reduce its carbon footprint. The test bed currently supports several pilot tidal stream generators employing both conventional and novel technologies. For feasible power capture, tidal generators are preferably located at natural coastal features which can converge and amplify water flow, such as channels and estuaries. The current test bed benefits from amplified flow due to the narrowed channel between Singapore and Sentosa islands and bridge piers which provides manmade flow convergence.
Currently, ERI@N plans to extend its research activities at the test bed by upgrading the structural components to accommodate a bigger turbine prototype up to rotor diameter beyond 1m which will provide higher power output and showcase novel features which are intended for maturing the technologies designed towards tropical conditions for further commercial applications. From a broader perspective, the test bed will help to develop marine energy as a complement to the renewable energy mix of Singapore.