In this article, a local scale, fully nonlinear coupled fluid-structural interaction (FSI) sugar kelp model has been developed using a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) method. In this model, to be consistent with available experimental data, the sugar kelp is approximated as elongated rectangles with smoothed isosceles triangles at the ends and a single kelp model with one end fixed in a channel with constant current model is developed. Several different current speeds are simulated, and the resulting drag forces and calculated drag coefficients are validated by comparison with experimental data from the literature. In a previous study, a global scale model was developed using a computational structural dynamics (CSD) method to simulate macroalgae farming system and guide the system configuration design. In the global scale model, the hydrodynamic forces are calculated using Morison’s equation and the kinematics and dynamics of the sugar kelp are simplified and the group of kelps attached to the long line is modeled as a slender structure with the same length and an effective diameter such that the volumes are consistent with the real physical system. This simplified model matches the weight and buoyancy but adjusting the hydrodynamic properties when the general hydrodynamic coefficients are employed. Therefore, optimal hydrodynamic coefficients used in global scale model were determined to obtain the hydrodynamic force more accurately. The validated local scale model is then be applied to determine the hydrodynamic coefficients of the simplified sugar kelp model for global dynamic analysis.

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