Analysis of a horizontal-axis tidal turbine performance in the presence of regular and irregular waves using two control strategies

Stephanie Ordonez-Sanchez, Matthew Allmark, Kate Porter, Robert Ellis, Catherine Lloyd, Ivan Santic, Tim O'Doherty, Cameron Johnstone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)
11 Downloads (Pure)


The flow developed on a tidal site can be characterized by combinations of turbulence, shear flows, and waves. Horizontal-axis tidal turbines are therefore subjected to dynamic loadings that may compromise the working life of the rotor and drive train components. To this end, a series of experiments were carried out using a 0.9 m horizontal-axis tidal turbine in a tow tank facility. The experiments included two types of regular waveforms, one of them simulating an extreme wave case, the other simulating a more moderate wave case. The second regular wave was designed to match the peak period and significant wave height of an irregular wave which was also tested. Measurements of torque, thrust, and blade-bending moments were taken during the testing campaign. Speed and torque control strategies were implemented for a range of operational points to investigate the influence that a control mode had in the performance of a tidal stream turbine. The results showed similar average power and thrust values were not affected by the control strategy, nor the influence of either the regular or irregular wave cases. However, it was observed that using torque control resulted in an increase of thrust and blade root bending moment fluctuations per wave period. The increase in fluctuations was in the order of 40% when compared to the speed control cases.
Original languageEnglish
Article number367
Number of pages22
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jan 2019



  • control strategy
  • dynamic loading
  • horizontal-axis tidal turbine
  • regular waves
  • irregular waves
  • tow tank

Cite this