Effect of Fouling on the Performance of an Instream Turbine


  • Ralf Starzmann SCHOTTEL Hydro
  • Nicholas Kaufmann
  • Penny Jeffcoate
  • Ray Pieroway
  • Maricarmen Guerra
  • Alex Hay




Full-Scale Testing, Performance, Fouling, SIT 250, Tidal Turbine


As the tidal energy industry starts to mature towards commercial projects a key focus is on reliable power performance. As for any marine application, fouling poses a potential performance reduction risk for instream turbine deployments.

SCHOTTEL HYDRO have developed their current commercial SCHOTTEL Instream Turbines. Four drivetrains with 6.3m rotors were deployed on the surface platform PLAT-I by Sustainable Marine Energy. One of PLAT-Is key features is access to the turbines for inspection and maintenance in situ. The system has undergone sea testing from 2017 to 2021 in Scotland and Nova Scotia (Canada).

This paper presents the hydrodynamic rotor performance reduction due to fouling based on full-scale experimental results. An in-house blade element momentum model is used to quantify the changes of the hydrodynamic forces in terms of lift and drag for the hydrofoils used. Furthermore, the effect of fouling on the downstream wake was quantified in the field. The performance reduction due to fouling is significant and leads to a power drop of up to 43%, whereas the thrust is reduced by 25%. This is also reflected in a reduction of the turbine’s downstream wake as a “fouled” rotor extracts less energy from the flow. Modifications of the polar data, used for semi-empirical performance predictions, are able to predict the effect of fouling on the rotor performance.

In general, the results derived from the testing prove the significance of access to the turbines in order to avoid reduction in the turbines’ performance due to fouling.




How to Cite

Starzmann, R., Kaufmann, N., Jeffcoate, P., Pieroway, R., Guerra, M., & Hay, A. (2022). Effect of Fouling on the Performance of an Instream Turbine. International Marine Energy Journal, 5(3), 229–237. https://doi.org/10.36688/imej.5.229-237



EWTEC 2021 Special issue papers (Part 3)