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25 October 2023

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St Hugh’s Fellow provides expert comment for BBC on the use of tidal power

St Hugh’s Career Development Fellow in Oxford University’s Department of Engineering Science, Dr Amanda Smyth has featured on BBC TV News and BBC News online providing expert comment on the use of tidal power to produce renewable energy. The BBC approached Amanda following her contribution to a documentary video produced by Deutsche Welle entitled, “Tidal energy could be huge – why isn’t it?” which has had over 3.25m views on YouTube.

Amanda said, ‘Tidal power has really significant potential, yet it has never been developed at scale’. Amanda believes this will change, but said, ‘The challenge is to bring down the price tag of it, to make sure it’s something that is commercially viable.’

Amanda’s research area is in unsteady fluid dynamics, with a particular focus on 3D effects and tidal stream turbines. Her work explores the physics of unsteady flow interaction with 3D geometries such as wings or rotors, and the limitations of 2D strip-theory approaches to modelling these flow interactions. This is particularly relevant to tidal turbine blades, which are highly 3D in shape. She is also working on mitigation strategies to minimise unsteady hydrodynamic loading on tidal turbines, identifying passive design parameters for the turbine blades to reduce the risk of premature fatigue failures or catastrophic overloading. Amanda also works on exploring the limits of applicability of 2D analytic models of unsteady gust-aerofoil interaction, and study the high-efficiency propulsive swimming motions of marine animals.

You can watch Amanda’s full contribution to the Deutsche Welle video by clicking here.

An underwater 'kite' that captures tidal power being towed into place One of MeyGen's huge turbines off the Orkney Islands

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