A Comparison of Panel Method and RANS Calculations for a Horizontal Axis Marine Current Turbine

In this work, a comparison between results of a panel method and a RANS solver is made for a horizontal axis marine current turbine in uniform inflow conditions. The panel method calculations were made with panel code PROPAN (Baltazar, On the modelling of the potential flow about wings and marine propellers using a boundary element method. Ph.D. thesis, Instituto Superior Técnico, 2008). A vortex pitch wake alignment model is considered for the blade wake. The RANS calculations were carried out with RANS code ReFRESCO (http://​www.​marin.​nl/​web/​Facilities-Tools/​CFD/​ReFRESCO.​htm). A comparison of the blade pressure distributions, wake geometry and thrust and power coefficients is made. A reasonable to good agreement of the blade distribution and turbine forces is seen between the codes. Comparison of the numerical calculations with experimental performance data available in the literature is also presented. In general, the trend of the thrust and power coefficients is well captured by the numerical methods.