This paper describes the adaptation of a wind turbine performance code for use in the development of a general use design tool and optimization method for stall-regulated horizontal-axis hydrokinetic turbine rotors. The rotor optimization tool couples a modern genetic algorithm and blade-element momentum performance code in a user friendly graphical-user-interface that efficiently automates the arduous design process for stall-regulated rotors. This optimization method calculates the optimal chord, twist, and hydrofoil distributions which maximize the hydrodynamic efficiency while ensuring that the rotor exhibits power regulation via hydrodynamic stall and avoids cavitation. Optimizing a rotor for maximum hydrodynamic efficiency does not necessarily create a turbine with the lowest cost of energy, but maximizing the efficiency is an excellent criterion to use as a first pass in the design process. With satisfactory results, two conceptual rotors were designed to test the capabilities of this optimization method.

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