Blade element momentum theory to predict the effect of wave-current interactions on the performance of tidal stream turbines

Stephanie Ordonez-Sanchez, Kate Porter, Matthew Allmark , Cameron Johnstone, Tim O'Doherty

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

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The durability and reliability of tidal energy systems can be compromised by the harsh environments that the tidal stream turbines need to withstand. These loadings will increase substantially if the turbines are deployed in exposed sites where high magnitude waves will affect the turbine in combination with fast tidal currents. The loadings affecting the turbines can be modelled using various numerical or analytical methods; each of them have their own advantages and disadvantages. To understand the limitations arising with the use of numerical solutions, the outcomes can be verified with practical work. In this paper, a Blade Element Momentum coupled with wave solutions is used to predict the performance of a scaled turbine in a flume and a tow tank. The analytical and experimental work is analysed for combinations of flow speeds of 0.5 and 1.0 m/s, wave heights of 0.2 and 0.4 and wave periods of 1.5 and 1.7 s. It was found that good agreement between the model and the experimental work was observed when comparing the data sets at high flow conditions. However, even if the average values were similar, the model tend to under predict the maximum and minimum values obtained in the experiments. When looking at the results of low flow velocities, the agreement between the average and time series was poorer.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 9 Sept 2018
Event4th Asian Wave and Tidal Energy Conference - Taipei , Taiwan
Duration: 9 Sept 201813 Sept 2018


Conference4th Asian Wave and Tidal Energy Conference
Abbreviated titleAWTEC 2018


  • tidal turbine
  • blade element momentum theory
  • wave-current interactions
  • experiments
  • loading


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