Numerical Simulations of Two Back-To-Back Horizontal Axis Tidal Stream Turbines in Free-Surface Flows

Jinhui Yan, Xiaowei Deng, Fei Xu, Songzhe Xu, Qiming Zhu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We simulate two back-to-back full-scale tidal turbines using an in-house computational free-surface flow code. We briefly present the mathematical formulation of the computational framework. We first validate the proposed method on a single turbine configuration. A mesh refinement study is conducted to ensure the result is converged. We then quantify the wake effect and free-surface effect on tidal turbine performance by a case study. To investigate the free-surface effect, we perform both pure hydrodynamics and free-surface simulations. The time history of thrust and production coefficients is quantified. In both pure hydrodynamics and free-surface flow simulations, thrust and production coefficients of the downstream turbines drop significantly due to the velocity deficit in the wake. By comparing the result between free-surface flow and pure hydrodynamics simulations for the configuration considered here, we find that the free-surface does not affect the upstream turbine but significantly affects the downstream turbine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number061001
JournalJournal of Applied Mechanics, Transactions ASME
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020


  • computational mechanics
  • free-surface flow
  • hydro energy
  • turbulence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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