To meet the increased demand of hydroelectric power generation, a novel drag-based Savonius turbine with the characteristics of a simpler fabrication process and good starting characteristics is designed, fabricated, and analyzed. The newly designed turbine is suitable to be installed in rivers, irrigation channels, ocean currents, etc., for small-scale hydroelectric power generation. In the present study, experiments are carried out to investigate the influence of the design parameters of this turbine on its power performance in order to improve its efficiency, including blade arc angles (180°, 135°), blade placement angles (0°, ±22.5°), and the number of blades (2, 3, 6, and 8). Further, three-dimensional CFD simulations are performed with Re = 6.72 × 105, matching the experimental conditions, in order to study the changes in the flow field and the rotation characteristics of the turbine. The research results indicate that a six-bladed turbine with a blade arc angle of 135° and a blade placement angle of 0° has higher torque and better power performance, which makes it the most suitable design when also considering cost. Furthermore, it was found that an increase in the number of turbine blades contributes to improving the performance of the turbine. The maximum power coefficient is 0.099 at a tip speed ratio of 0.34.
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