Environmental Engineering Research Centre
School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering

Mairead Atcheson



Title: PhD candidate


·         MSc in Environmental Engineering, Queen’s University Belfast

·         Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) in Environmental Engineering, National University of  Ireland, Galway


Professional Qualifications: Member of the Institute of Civil Engineers (ICE)

Awards: 3rd place poster prize at the 2011 SuperGen Annual Assembly

  White Young Green MSc Bursary Award in 2007 


PhD title: Investigating the hydrodynamic performance of a tidal stream energy converter

Similar to the wind energy industry it is planned that tidal stream energy devices will be deployed in arrays. However, before the tidal industry can progress to this stage more information is required on the optimum spacing between tidal turbines. This programme of research has focused on providing information to help inform the process of spacing tidal turbines, by investigating the significance of the wake produced and the subsequent performance of a turbine in the downstream wake.

Large scale model tests were carried out as part of the research programme to help understand the hydrodynamic performance of the turbine. Both device performance and wake measurements were made during the test programmes, and the parameters to which they are most sensitive investigated.

The large scale experiments also provided a test bed to compare the ability of different flow measurement instruments to measures the complex wake flow. Two different acoustic instruments were used to map the wake during the large scale towing tests. These included an acoustic Doppler velocimeter (ADV) and an RD Instrument 600 kHz Workhorse Sentinel (RDI ADCP).


·         Tidal stream energy converter concepts and technologies

·         Flow measurement instruments, especially those used in field testing applications

·         Turbulence and the discussion of the best method of describing turbulence in relation to tidal stream energy applications.   


Boake C.B., Atcheson M., Whittaker T.W.T., Bryden I.G., 2009 “Selection of a large model scale field wave and tidal test site in Strangford Lough, UK”, Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on Sustainable Power Generation and Supply (SUPERGEN), April 6-7th, Nanjing, China.


Rose, S., Good, A., Atcheson, M., Hamill, G., Johnstone, C., MacKinnon, P., Robinson, D., Grant, A. & Whittaker, T.W.T., 2011, “Investigating experimental techniques for measurement of the downstream wake of a tidal turbine” Proceedings of the 9th European Wave and Tidal Energy Conference, 5th-9th September, Southampton, UK.


Investigating the Hydrodynamic Performance of a Tidal Turbine