Turbines for wave energy conversion have a special feature to be taken into account in the study of the tip leakage flow: These turbines are self-rectifying, which work inside a cyclically bidirectional flow alternatively as an inflow/outflow turbine. The phenomena at the blade tip will be different in these two situations. Moreover, it is necessary to take into account the tip clearance of the guide vanes because it has a significant influence on the rotor performance. A previously developed numerical model has been used for this study. The geometry proposed by Setoguchi (2002, “A Performance Study of a Radial Impulse Turbine for Wave Energy Conversion
,” Journal of Power and Energy, 216, pp. 15–22) is used in the model. Three different tip clearance sizes have been simulated to compare the influence of the tip clearance size on the performance. Results show that changing the size of the tip clearance from 0% to 4% of the blade span reduces the turbine maximum efficiency by up to 8%. However, the efficiency reduction is more pronounced when the turbine works as an inflow turbine because the tip clearance effect is more important in the inner part of the rotor, since flow velocities are higher and the relative casing motion is lower. This study achieves its main aim, which is to improve knowledge about the phenomena related to the tip clearance and its influence on the performance of radial impulse turbines.