A comparison of tidal turbine characteristics obtained from field and laboratory testing

Pál Schmitt, Song Fu, Ian Benson, Gavin Lavery, Stephanie Ordoñez-Sanchez, Carwyn Frost, Cameron Johnstone, Louise Kregting

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
43 Downloads (Pure)


Experimental testing of physical turbines, often at a smaller scale, is an essential tool for engineers to investigate fundamental design parameters such as power output and efficiency. Despite issues with scaling and blockage which are caused by limitations in size and flow velocity of the test facilities, experimental tank testing in laboratory environments is often perceived as offering more control and thus trustworthier results than field testing. This paper presents field tests of a tidal turbine, performed using a self-propelled barge in real tidal flow and still water conditions, that are compared to a towing tank test. Factors influencing the performance characteristics, such as the choice of velocity sensor, vessel handling and data processing techniques are investigated in this paper. Direct comparison with test results of the exact same turbine obtained in an experimental test facility further confirms that field testing with robust data analysis capabilities is a viable, time and cost efficient alternative to characterise tidal turbines.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1182
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Marine Science and Engineering
Issue number9
Early online date24 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished - 24 Aug 2022


  • tidal energy
  • field testing
  • tank testing
  • self propelled barge
  • prototype


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