The Wells turbine is an axial-flow air-turbine designed to extract energy from the ocean waves. The turbine is self-rectifying, i.e., produces an unidirectional time-averaged torque from a reciprocating flow. The paper describes an experimental investigation on the aerodynamic performance of a modified version of the Wells turbine, whose rotor blades can be set at varying angle (as in a Kaplan turbine) while the turbine is in motion. The purpose of the work is to investigate whether, and to what extent, the modification to the turbine can enable it to achieve phase control—a method of tuning the energy-absorbing device to the incident waves—and avoid aerodynamic stall on the turbine rotor blades at peaks of air flow rate under conditions of real irregular ocean waves. Experimental results obtained with a model turbine are compared with predicted values from a quasi-three-dimensional computational method of flow analysis.

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