Tow-tank testing of a 1/20th scale horizontal axis tidal turbine with uncertainty analysis

Darrel A. Doman, Robynne E. Murray, Michael J. Pegg, Katie Gracie, Cameron M. Johnstone, Thomas Nevalainen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)
96 Downloads (Pure)


Tidal turbine developers and researchers use small scale testing (i.e. tow tank and flume testing) as a cost effective and low risk way to conduct proof-of-concept studies and evaluate early stage device performance. This paper presents experimental performance data for a three-bladed 1/20th scale NREL S814 tidal turbine rotor, produced at the 4.6 × 2.5 m and 76 m long Kelvin Hydrodynamics Laboratory tow tank at Strathclyde University. The rotor performance was characterised from very low tip speed ratios to runaway for four carriage speeds. A maximum CP of 0.285 and a maximum CT of 0.452 were recorded at tip speed ratios of 3.53 and 4.45 for a carriage speed of 1 m/s. The uncertainty in the instrument calibration and experimental measurements was quantified, allowing accurate representation of the experiments in numerical models. The methodology behind the uncertainty calculations is described in this paper. The uncertainty in the experimental measurements was found to be less than 5% for over 87% of the tests. Reynolds number scaling effects were found to be influential on the rotor performance in the range of velocities tested.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-119
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Marine Energy
Early online date14 Jun 2015
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sep 2015


  • tidal turbine
  • rotor blade
  • power and thrust measurements
  • uncertainty analysis


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