On the design of propeller hydrokinetic turbines: the effect of the number of blades

  • Antonio C. P. Brasil Junior
  • Rafael C. F. Mendes
  • Théo Wirrig
  • Ricardo Noguera
  • Taygoara F. OliveiraEmail author
Technical Paper


A design study of propeller hydrokinetic turbines is explored in the present paper, where the optimized blade geometry is determined by the classical Glauert theory applicable to the design of axial flow turbines (hydrokinetic and wind turbines). The aim of the present study is to evaluate the optimized geometry for propeller hydrokinetic turbines, observing the effect of the number of blades in the runner design. The performance of runners with different number of blades is evaluated in a specific low-rotational-speed operating conditions, using blade element momentum theory (BEMT) simulations, confirmed by measurements in wind tunnel experiments for small-scale turbine models. The optimum design values of the power coefficient, in the operating tip speed ratio, for two-, three- and four-blade runners are pointed out, defining the best configuration for a propeller 10 kW hydrokinetic machine.


Hydrokinetic turbines Propeller horizontal axis turbines BEMT methods Wind tunnel experiments Glauert theory 



This work is partially financed by the HYDRO-K project consortium in a context of the ANEEL P&D Grant, with the partnership of AES-Brasil Company. The authors are grateful to the support of Brazilian Ministry of Education, by means of CAPES, for the PhD scholarships. The France–Brazil cooperation program lying ENSAM-ParisTech and UnB has maintained the international mobility of the researchers.


  1. 1.
    Laws ND, Epps BP (2016) Hydrokinetic energy conversion: technology, research, and outlook. Renew Sustain Energy Rev 57:1245–1259CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Sleiti AK (2017) Tidal power technology review with potential applications in Gulf Stream. Renew Sustain Energy Rev 69:435–441CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Kumar D, Sarkar S (2016) A review on the technology, performance, design optimization, reliability, techno-economics and environmental impacts of hydrokinetic energy conversion systems. Renew Sustain Energy Rev 58:796–813CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Yuce MI, Muratoglu A (2015) Hydrokinetic energy conversion systems: A technology status review. Renew Sustain Energy Rev 43:72–82CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Rehman S, Mahbub Alam M, Alhems LM, Rafique MM (2018) Horizontal axis wind turbine blade design methodologies for efficiency enhancement—a review. Energies 11:506–540CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Schubel PJ, Crossley RJ (2012) Wind turbine blade design. Energies 5:3425–3449CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Glauert H (1935) Airplanes propellers. In: Durand WF, Aerodynamic theory Chapter XI. vol. 4, pp. 191-195 (reprinted, Dover, New York, 1963)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Burton T, Sharpe D, Jenkins N, Bossanyi E (2001) Wind energy handbook. Wiley, HobokenCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Hansen MOL (2015) Aerodynamics of wind turbines, 3rd edn. Routledge, AbingdonCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Schaffarczyk AP (2014) Introduction to wind turbine aerodynamics. Springer, BerlinCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Liu S, Janajreh I (2012) Development and application of an improved blade element momentum method model on horizontal axis wind turbines. Int J Energy Environ Eng 3:30CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Buhl Jr. M L (2005) A new empirical relationship between thrust coefficient and induction factor for the turbulent windmill state. Technical Report NREL/TP-500-36834Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Benini E (2004) Significance of blade element theory in performance prediction of marine propellers. Ocean Eng 31:957–974CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Chapman JC, Masters I, Togneri M, Orme JAC (2013) The Buhl correction factor applied to high induction conditions for tidal stream turbines. Renew Energy 60:472–480CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Goundar JN, Rafiuddin AM (2013) Design of a horizontal axis tidal current turbine. Appl Energy 111:161–174CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Li W, Zhou H, Liu H, Lin Y, Xu Q (2016) Review on the blade design technologies of tidal current turbine. Renew Sustain Energy Rev 63:414–422CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Batten WMJ, Bahaj AS, Molland AF, Chaplin JR (2007) Experimentally validated numerical method for the hydrodynamic design of horizontal axis tidal turbines. Ocean Eng 34(7):1013–1029CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Silva PASF, Shimoya LD, Oliveira TF, Vaz JRP, Amarante Mesquita AL, Brasil Junior ACP (2017) Analysis of cavitation for the optimized design of hydrokinetic turbines using BEM. Appl Energy 185:1281–1291CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Duquette MM, Swanson J, Visser KD (2003) Solidity and blade number effects on a fixed pitch, 50 W horizontal axis wind turbine. Wind Eng 27(4):299–316CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Badshah M, Badshah S, Jan S (2017) Hydrodynamical design of tidal current turbine and the effect of solidity on performance. J Eng Appl Sci 36:45–54Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Muhle F, Adaramola MS, Stran L (2016) The effect of the number of blades on wind turbine wake a comparison between 2-and 3-bladed rotors. J Phys Conf Ser 753:032017CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Brasil Junior ACP, Mendes RCF, Lacroix J, Noguera R, Oliveira TF (2017) Hydrokinetic propeller turbines. How many blades? Am J Hydropower Water Environ Syst 4:16–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Maalawi KY, Badawy MTS (2001) A direct method for evaluating performance of horizontal axis wind turbines. Renew Sustain Energy Rev 5:175–190CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Drela, M, Giles, M B (1987) A two-dimensional viscous aerodynamic design and analysis code. AIAA-87 0424 reportGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Amarante Mesquita AL, Alves ASG (2000) An improved approach for performance prediction of HAWT using the strip theory. Wind Eng 24:417–430CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Marten D, Wendler J, Pechlivanoglou J, Nayeri C N, Paschereit C O, (2013) QBLADE: an open source tool for design and simulation of horizontal and vertical axis wind turbines. Int J Emerg Technol Adv Eng 3:264–269Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Kolekar N, Banerjee A (2015) Performance characterization and placement of a marine hydrokinetic turbine in a tidal channel under boundary proximity and blockage effects. Appl Energy 148:121–133CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Machuca M, Wind tunnel experiments of free flow turbines—hydrokinetic and wind turbines (in Portuguese), MSc dissertation in Mechanical Sciences, University of Brasilia, 2016Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Monteiro JP, Silvestre MR, Piggott H, Andre JC (2013) Wind tunnel testing of a horizontal axis wind turbine rotor and comparison with simulations from two blade element momentum codes. J Wind Eng Ind Aerodyn 123:99–106CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Taylor JR (1997) An introduction to error analysis. University Science Books, Sausalito, p 327Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Brazilian Society of Mechanical Sciences and Engineering 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Antonio C. P. Brasil Junior
    • 1
  • Rafael C. F. Mendes
    • 1
  • Théo Wirrig
    • 2
  • Ricardo Noguera
    • 2
  • Taygoara F. Oliveira
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Laboratory of Energy and EnvironmentUniversity of BrasiliaBrasíliaBrazil
  2. 2.ENSAM - Ecole Nationale dArts et Métiers. Lab. DynFluid.ParisFrance

Personalised recommendations