A validated BEM model to analyse hydrodynamic loading on tidal stream turbines blades

Steven Allsop, Christophe Peyrard, Philipp R. Thies, Evangelos Boulougouris, Gareth P. Harrison

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution book

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This paper details a Blade Element Momentum (BEM) model for a 3 bladed, horizontal axis Tidal Stream Turbine (TST). The code capabilities are rigorously tested by applying a range of different turbine parameters and operating conditions, where results are compared to numerous validation datasets.
The model shows excellent agreement to performance and thrust measurements from 3 of the 4 datasets, where improved correlations are seen at high rotational speeds to other BEM models. The exception case shows over predictions of up to 30% in power at peak operating speed. In this case, CFD studies show better correlation due to the ability to capture detailed flow features around the blade as well as free surface effects, however require 3 to 4 orders of magnitude greater computational cost.
Steady, non-uniform inflow functionality is incorporated into the model, where distributions of thrust and torque along the blade as well as cyclic loads are determined. These show the potential of the model to be used in combination with tools such as stress and fatigue analyses to improve the blade design process.
This paper details the validation of an efficient BEM model through experimental results and additional CFD analysis, as well as demonstrating its application for detailed analysis of hydrodynamic loading to be used in blade designs.
Keywords— Tidal Stream Turbine (TST), Blade Element Momentum (BEM), performance modelling, non-uniform inflow, blade cyclic loading, hydrodynamic loading
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication3rd Asian Wave and Tidal Energy Conference (AWTEC 2016)
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 24 Oct 2016
Event3rd Asian Wave and Tidal Energy Conference - Marina Bay Sands, Singapore, Singapore
Duration: 24 Oct 201628 Oct 2016
Conference number: 3


Conference3rd Asian Wave and Tidal Energy Conference
Abbreviated titleAWTEC 2016
Internet address


  • tidal stream turbine
  • blade element momentum (BEM)
  • performance modelling
  • non-uniform inflow
  • blade cyclic loading
  • hydrodynamic loading

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