Validation of the dynamic load characteristics on a Tidal Stream Turbine when subjected to wave and current interaction

Catherine Lloyd, Matthew Allmark , Stephanie Ordonez-Sanchez, Rodrigo Martinez, Cameron Johnstone, Gregory Germain, Benoit Gaurier, Allan Mason-Jones, Tim O'Doherty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
5 Downloads (Pure)


A comparison of a tidal turbine's performance and structural loads is conducted using lab-scale numerical models and experimental testing under multiple current-only and wave-current conditions at the IFREMER wave-current flume. Experimental testing, used to validate CFD models, was accomplished using a 0.9 m diameter, 3-bladed tidal turbine and had a blockage ratio of 8% while the turbine was submerged. Initial investigations analysed the performance and loads on the turbine under uniform and profiled current-only conditions. The presence of a profiled velocity gradient was found to have a negligible effect on the average performance characteristics; however, transient thrust, torque and out of plane bending moment loads experienced much greater variations. These load fluctuations were further increased with increasing levels of shear in the velocity profile, while peaks in the turbine loads coincided with its rotational frequency. The addition of regular, Stokes 2nd Order Theory waves added to the complexity of the flow conditions experienced by the turbine. The effect on the average performance characteristics were negligible while the total turbine thrust and torque fluctuations increased by 35 times that of the current-only cases. Peaks in the loads aligned with the wave surface elevation, indicating the importance of transient analyses of dynamic loads.
Original languageEnglish
Article number108360
Number of pages24
JournalOcean Engineering
Issue number15
Early online date3 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2021


  • tidal stream turbine
  • wave-current interaction
  • computational fluid dynamics
  • regular waves
  • experimental validation
  • marine energy


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