A Numerical study on the effect of solidity on the performance of Transverse Axis Crossflow Tidal Turbines


  • Rónán Gallagher School of the Natural and Built Environment, Queens University Belfast
  • Carwyn Frost Queen's University Belfast
  • Pál Schmitt Queen's University Belfast
  • Charles Young Atlantic Technological University Donegal




crossflow turbine, solidity, blade loading, actuator line modelling


This paper presents a three-dimensional numerical study employing an actuator line model to investigate the effect of turbine solidity on the performance of a Transverse Axis Crossflow Turbine (TACTs). Transverse Axis Crossflow Turbines have a low rectangular form and are ideally suited to relatively shallow tidal and riverine sites due to their ability to handle bi-directional flow intake. Lift based TACTs are not well understood due to their complex hydrodynamics when the downstream sweep passes through the wake produced by the turbine shaft and the upstream sweep. The blade loading, hydrodynamics and ultimately power produced during the downstream sweep depends on the number of blades and turbine solidity. This numerical study is carried out using OpenFOAM and replicates planned fieldwork where the power and in-service blade loading will be monitored as a function of turbine solidity. Turbine solidity is a dimensionless parameter that measures the proportion of blade area to the projected turbine frontal area. Turbines achieve peak performance at an optimum solidity and tip speed ratio. Solidity can be varied by changing the number of blades or changing the turbine radius.  An increase in solidity causes the peak performance to reduce and shift to a lower tip speed ratio albeit with a greater torque.

This paper also explores the effect that maintaining turbine solidity has on turbine performance over a range of typical inflow velocities. Turbine solidity is held constant by varying both the number of blades and turbine diameter. Iso-solidity has been investigated for horizontal axis wind turbines but little is known about the effect of maintaining turbine solidity on TACT performance.



How to Cite

R. Gallagher, C. Frost, P. Schmitt, and C. Young, “A Numerical study on the effect of solidity on the performance of Transverse Axis Crossflow Tidal Turbines”, Proc. EWTEC, vol. 15, Sep. 2023.



Structural mechanics: materials, fatigue, loadings