CFD analysis of hydrodynamic force on a horizontal axis tidal turbine


  • Kai Xu University of Galway
  • William Finnegan University of Galway
  • Fergal O’Rourke Dundalk Institute of Technology
  • Jamie Goggins University of Galway



Turbine blades, Computational Fluid Dynamics, Fatigue, Tidal energy


Horizontal axis tidal turbines are similar to wind turbines in both geometry and principle of operation, yet they need to withstand much heavier loadings and extreme conditions in a harsh operating environment. Consequently, the loadings on tidal turbine blades need to be accurately evaluated within the design stage to ensure they can withstand loadings with little need for repair. With the advancement of computational capabilities, computational fluid dynamics offers a relatively inexpensive method of simulating working conditions and estimating loadings, compared to traditional physical testing, while maintaining accuracy and applicability under a range of operating conditions. In this research, a computational fluid dynamics model of a tidal turbine rotor has been developed using commercial code ANSYS CFX, where the three-dimensional blade geometry is developed from the prototype tidal turbine used in the Round Robin Tests in the framework of the H2020 MaRINET2 Infrastructures Network project. The outputs from the numerical model are validated against the experimental results, where it is revealed that with an increasing rotating speed of the tidal turbine, the thrust force that turbine experienced increases, while the torque force experiences a rise firstly, reaching a maximum value and then decreases gradually. In addition, the experimental results show that during the operation of ocean tidal turbines, the turbine blades experience frequent and large-scale fluctuation of hydrodynamic loads, including thrust and torque, which may lead to tidal turbine blade damage due to fatigue. Therefore, the next stage of development with this numerical model is fatigue loading evaluation, in order to improve the present fatigue design and testing of tidal turbine blades, while gaining a greater understanding of the damage mechanisms.



How to Cite

K. Xu, W. . Finnegan, F. O’Rourke, and J. Goggins, “CFD analysis of hydrodynamic force on a horizontal axis tidal turbine”, Proc. EWTEC, vol. 15, Sep. 2023.