The performance of a new concept of hydrokinetic turbine using oscillating hydrofoils to extract energy from water currents (tidal or gravitational) is investigated using URANS numerical simulations. The numerical predictions are compared with experimental data from a 2 kW prototype, composed of two rectangular oscillating hydrofoils of aspect ratio 7 in a tandem spatial configuration. 3D computational fluid dynamics (CFD) predictions are found to compare favorably with experimental data especially for the case of a single-hydrofoil turbine. The validity of approximating the actual arc-circle trajectory of each hydrofoil by an idealized vertical plunging motion is also addressed by numerical simulations. Furthermore, a sensitivity study of the turbine’s performance in relation to fluctuating operating conditions is performed by feeding the simulations with the actual time-varying experimentally recorded conditions. It is found that cycle-averaged values, as the power-extraction efficiency, are little sensitive to perturbations in the foil kinematics and upstream velocity.

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