Tidal power

The tidal power group conducts research in to clean, renewable energy generation from tidal flows.


The Tidal Energy Research Group is based within the Civil Engineering group in the department of Engineering Science and is part of the Environmental Fluid Mechanics section. The group works closely with the Wind Energy Research Group to exploit the close ties between research in the two fields. The group conducts research into clean, renewable energy generation from tidal flows, and has a variety of active research projects spanning a number of topics:

  • assessment of the effects of energy extraction from tidal basins,
  • investigation of tidal turbine hydrodynamics and next generation turbine design,
  • investigation of multi-turbine interactions and tidal turbine fence design and performance,
  • development of a specific device - the Transverse Horizontal Axis Water Turbine (THAWT).

The group also organises and hosts the annual Oxford Tidal Energy (OTE) Workshop, which has become an important technical meeting within the tidal stream energy community. There have been five meetings which now enjoy 70-90 attendees each year from research groups and industry across the UK, Europe, and further abroad. Copies of workshop proceedings can be found on the Workshop page.

The group is multi-disciplinary and includes, civil, mechanical, and electrical engineers. Further information on the group's research can be found under the research section. The tidal and wave energy groups within Environmental Fluid Mechanics have been involved in a number of major projects, with a selection summarised below.

Credit: Conor FlemingThe group played a significant role in the Energy Technologies Institute funded project to examine Performance Assessment of Wave and Tidal Array Systems (PerAWaT). The aim of the PerAWat project was to accelerate the commercial deployment of wave and tidal energy converters by developing numerical tools capable of accurately estimating the energy yield of farms of tidal and wave energy converters.

The Tidal Energy Research Group had a major award from the Oxford Martin School to fund the Programme on Globalising Tidal Power Generation. The programme developed a range of analytic and numerical tools to examine the potential for higher efficiency tidal energy extraction through improved device design and optimised turbine farm layout.

The Oxford group was part of the multi-institution Supergen Marine Technology Challenge (SMARTY) project which explored the science and engineering required to ensure that marine renewable energy devices survive extreme conditions, and also sought to identify the upper limits of device operations in less severe conditions. This project utilised the group's experience with high-fidelity computational models of tidal turbines in sheared flow and wave conditions.

Further details of the tidal power research carried out in Oxford can be found at http://www.eng.ox.ac.uk/tidal.