Experimental Test Bench In A Wave Flume For The Development Of A New Mini Morphable Wells Turbine


  • FRANCESCO LA SPADA Studio La Spada
  • MYRTA CASTELLINO “Sapienza” University of Rome, Italy
  • MONICA MORONI “Sapienza” University of Rome, Italy
  • FRANCESCA SCIPIONE “Sapienza” University of Rome, Italy
  • ALESSANDRO CORSINI “Sapienza” University of Rome, Italy
  • GIOVANNI DELIBRA “Sapienza” University of Rome, Italy
  • VALERIO FRANCESCO BARNABEI “Sapienza” University of Rome, Italy
  • GIOELE RUFFINI “Sapienza” University of Rome, Italy
  • PAOLO DE GIROLAMO “Sapienza” University of Rome, Italy




Wells turbine, Oscillating water column (OWC), wave energy


The aim of this research study is to perform experimental tests on a new morphable mini Wells turbine designed to operate in presence of waves with limited energy content which presents a high frequency of occurrence along the Mediterranean coasts (Corsini et al., 2010). The strengths of these mini Wells turbines are: i) extremely light rotor; ii) no need of actuators to morph the rotor blades; iii) low construction and maintenance costs; iv) capability to produce energy starting from low wave heights in the order of a few decimetres. Furthermore, the small size and low investment costs of the turbine make it particularly suitable to be installed either in existing structures, such as anti-reflective perforated caissons (often used in the Mediterranean harbors), or in devices for coastal defense from erosive phenomena located on shallow water conditions. The need to carry out experimental tests derives from the difficulty of handling in a virtual Computational Fluid Dynamics environment the huge difference in the time scale of the turbine, which spins at 1500-3000 rpm, and the wave periods, in the order of some seconds (Corsini et al., 2012; Barnabei et al., 2020). Properly designed lab tests, executed in controlled conditions with irregular sea states, are therefore mandatory to fully characterize the behavior of morphable Wells turbines to be employed in the Mediterranean Sea, and in particular to assess their self-start capability.





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