Association Technique Maritime et Aéronautique

Numéro : 2687 - Year : 2015

Water turbine optimization by means of a CFD method

Pol MULLER, DCNS Research / SIREHNA – Nantes (France)
Florent SAINCLAIR, DCNS Research / SIREHNA – Nantes (France)
Andrew CARLISLE, OpenHydro – Greenore, Louth (Irlande)
Coline DELAFOSSE, DCNS – Lorient (France)


This paper presents a numerical optimisation technique applicable to the design of propellers and water turbines, and its application to OpenHydro’s Open Centre Turbine, a Tidal Stream Generator using the kinetic energy in moving water to generate electricity. The main objective of the optimisation was to increase the power coefficient, often denoted as efficiency. Optimisation techniques developed for hull and propellers have been adapted to the specific needs of the tidal turbine.

The turbine is divided into a static shroud, a rotor composed of blades in variable number and a hollow hub. A parametric CAD model of the turbine has been built and its robustness checked in order to cope with large variations of its main dimensions and characteristics such as blade number, pitch of blades or thickness of shroud. Turbine performances are computed with a CFD method. Due to the anticipated large number of computed designs, efforts were made to reduce the meshing and computation time without significantly impacting the quality of the performance calculations in given environmental conditions. Generation of geometry and calculation of its performance are controlled by an optimisation environment which allows the designer to efficiently explore the design space and search for an optimum solution in terms of power coefficient, together with the influence of geometric parameters on drag and torque.

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