A numerical investigation based on 2D URANS simulations is performed in order to seek an optimal spatial configuration for two oscillating foils within a hydrokinetic turbine. The objective of the study is to maximize the power extraction efficiency of the turbine. Tandem spatial configurations are considered because in such arrangement both hydrofoils are sharing the same flow window, which allows the turbine to reach higher efficiencies. The relative positioning of the downstream foil oscillating in the wake shed by the upstream hydrofoil is seen to be critical. Indeed, favorable interactions between the downstream foil and the wake vortices may lead to unexpectedly high power-extraction efficiencies (up to 64%), while unfavorable interactions may cause the downstream foil to contribute negatively to the total power extracted. A global phase shift parameter is introduced to characterize the tandem configuration. This parameter combines the inter-foil spacing and motion phase-shift into a single term. It is found useful to predict additional favorable configurations based on known results for cases with similar upstream-foil wake behavior. A comparison with experimental data is provided. Numerical predictions are seen to overpredict the power extraction performance in some cases. This is likely due to the broken 2D coherence of vortices in the 3D reality which affects the vortex-induced velocities and the subsequent foil-wake interactions.

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