Skip to main content

The potential of the water hammer in pico-scale tidal power systems: an experimental investigation.

Roberts, A., Thomas, B., Sewell, P., Aslani, N., Balmain, S., Balmain, I. and Gillman, J., 2016. The potential of the water hammer in pico-scale tidal power systems: an experimental investigation. In: 4th International Symposium on Environment-Friendly Energies and Applications - EFEA 2016, 14-16 September 2016, Belgrade.

Full text available as:

07748803.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.



The tidal energy within the seas surrounding the United Kingdom offers a vast renewable resource that is perfectly predictable over long timescales. Currently, the bulk of tidal energy research is focused on developing large devices for the most resource rich locations, which can be many miles from populated areas. The potential of small-scale tidal power from sub-optimal shallow water sites, close to populated regions, has so far been overlooked. Such generation would benefit from reduced transmission losses and contribute towards a distributed electricity grid, helping to overcome the variability of other renewables. This work presents a novel method for generating hydropower using the water hammer effect: a pressure surge that can occur in a pipeline following the abrupt closure of a valve. These pressure surges are used to produce vertical oscillations from horizontally flowing water, allowing power to be generated in a manner analogous to a wave energy convertor. A non-optimised scale model was found experimentally to have a peak available power density of 1.08 ± 0.25 kW/m2 and a mean of 0.07 ± 0.02 kW/m2. In comparison, the MCT SeaGen S (arguably the most well-developed tidal energy device) is capable of generating 3.18 kW/m2. With further development, a water hammer device may therefore be useful for generating pico-scale tidal power in slow, shallow water flows.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords:pico-scale hydropower; tidal energy; wave energy conversion; sustainability; water hammer; experimental studies
Group:Faculty of Science & Technology
ID Code:25026
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:30 Nov 2016 12:48
Last Modified:14 Mar 2022 14:00


Downloads per month over past year

More statistics for this item...
Repository Staff Only -