Design of bare and ducted axial marine current turbines


A panel method code is used to study the hydrodynamic performances of tidal turbines.

Both bare and ducted turbines are simulated.

A procedure using the blade element momentum and the panel method code is described.

The examples presented show that adding a duct can be counter-productive.

Theoretically, maximum efficiency of a thrust propeller and the Betz limit are correlated.


To convert the kinetic energy of marine current into electricity, the most sensible generator is a horizontal axis turbine. The know-how and the tools used for marine propulsion devices find a new range of applications in this field. An academic panel method code developed for the design of bare and ducted marine propellers was applied to design a marine current turbine. The turbine dimension and the tidal current velocity have been taken to fit the conditions in the Race of Alderney. The wing section theory and the optimum rotor theory based on the blade element momentum were used to obtain the design condition and a first geometry approaching the Betz limit for a bare rotor. The panel method was then used to verify the power coefficient obtained in the presence of the 3D effects and if the cavitation constraints are respected. Subsequently, the same panel code was used to verify if the addition of a duct could improve the power output per unit surface.


  • Marine current turbines;
  • Panel method;
  • Turbine design;
  • Ducted turbine;
  • Marine propellers

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