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Numerical research of the effect of surface biomimetic features on the efficiency of tidal turbine blades

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Wenxian YangORCiD, Dr Wenye Tian



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Horizontal-axis axial flow tidal current turbine is regularly used to exploit the kinematic energy in tidal currents. But the scaling up of tidal current turbine is very difficult. This is because strong tidal current only exists in the underwater region close to water surface, which implies that scaling up by enlarging rotor size is not always applicable to tidal current turbines. Hence, scaling up by improving the energy capture efficiency of the blade becomes a plausible choice. For this reason, apart from the numerous researches based on conventional aerodynamic and hydrodynamic theories, improving efficiency by biomimetic method is attracting increasing interest in recent years. It has been proved that leading-edge tubercles do have positive contribution to improving the efficiency of turbine blade. However, leading-edge tubercles can be made on blade only in manufacturing process as the post-production of them is quite difficult. Then, how to improve the energy capture efficiency of the existing blades? To answer this question, numerical research of the effect of surface biomimetic features on blade efficiency is conducted in this paper. For the sake of simplicity, the effect of surface bumps is investigated in this preliminary research in order to obtain a basic understanding of the effect of surface biomimetic features. In the research, the influences of surface bumps on blade surface pressure and the ratio of lift to drag forces are investigated in different bump array scenarios and at different tidal current speeds and the angles of attack. The calculation results have shown that surface bumps do improve the ratio of lift to drag forces of the blade in spite of their array arrangement, the angle of attack and tidal current speed. This suggests that the energy capture efficiency of both new and existing blades can be improved by deploying appropriate biomimetic features on the blade surfaces.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Yang W, Alexandridis T, Tian W

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Energies

Year: 2018

Volume: 11

Issue: 4

Online publication date: 21/04/2018

Acceptance date: 19/04/2018

Date deposited: 19/04/2018

ISSN (electronic): 1996-1073

Publisher: MDPI


DOI: 10.3390/en11041014

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