Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Engineering and Applied Science - Physics



Major Professor

Nikolaos Xiros

Second Advisor

Juliette Ioup


In response to the escalating demand for sustainable energy solutions and the critical reevaluation of conventional fossil fuels due to environmental concerns, this dissertation embarks on a comprehensive exploration of hydrokinetic energy as a promising alternative. The study delves into the underexplored domain of hydrokinetic energy, leveraging innovative methodologies for effective utilization and harnessing, particularly through the development and investigation of hydrokinetic turbines.

In the realm of hydrokinetic energy conversion, our research has exclusively concentrated on horizontal-axis turbines, distinct from other turbine configurations. Noteworthy is the adaptation of a conventional horizontal-axis wind turbine for water currents, revealing enhanced performance through experimental and computational methodologies, emphasizing the unique properties of water and insights gained from computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis.

Parallel to the developmental trajectory of wind turbines, the dissertation emphasizes the need for empirical validation through systematic experimentation to understand and optimize the behavior of hydrokinetic turbines. A novel testing approach, utilizing towing tanks commonly employed in maritime engineering, is introduced. This approach, focused on the conversion of ocean currents' kinetic energy, parallels the testing methodologies used for wind turbines, highlighting the commonality with horizontal-axis turbines. Specialized numerical methods, validated through a simulation tool based on Blade Element Momentum (BEM) theory, enhance confidence in the applicability of these methods for marine current turbine development.

The groundbreaking methodology for dynamometer testing of hydrokinetic turbines is a central focus of the research. Utilizing towing tanks as a testing platform, this approach involves a minimized hydrokinetic turbine model enclosed within a 3D-printed watertight nacelle. Integrated sensors capture crucial parameters, enabling comprehensive data collection for energy consumption, torque, and power generation. This methodology presents a promising avenue for advancing the development of hydrokinetic turbines, aiming for standardized and verifiable procedures for testing and experimentation.

The study extends its reach to the potential market opportunities derived from harnessing hydrokinetic energy, drawing parallels between hydrokinetic turbines and wind turbines. The dissertation outlines a systematic testing and development approach inspired by well-established methods in the wind energy sector, aligning with the guidelines of the International Towing Tank Conference (ITTC). The proposed methodology, organized into several chapters, covers aspects such as adaptation of towing tanks, selection of scale models, instrumentation and sensors, dry dynamometer characterization, nacelle design, testing procedures, and redesign with magnetic coupling.

In essence, this dissertation seeks to revolutionize underwater turbine testing by integrating principles from naval architecture and adapting them to the unique challenges of hydrokinetic energy. The proposed methodology ensures robustness, repeatability, and valuable insights into the hydrodynamic performance of hydrokinetic turbines, contributing significantly to the advancement of ocean current energy conversion technologies.


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