Turbine selection for small low-head hydro developments.

Jun 21st, 2015
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Alabama State University
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There are many different types of turbine configurations available for low-head small hydro developments. Both axial flow (propeller) and radial flow (Francis) turbines can be used in about 10 different configurations, resulting in considerable difficulty in arriving at the most economical and appropriate unit. This short article outlines the steps used in conjunction with a computer program, to arrive at the types of units available for the site. The input data for the program includes the flow, desired number of units, the head, the system frequency, the tailwater level, and the operating pattern in hours per annum at each flow, as obtained from a flow-duration curve. The program calculates the runner size and setting relative to tailwater, speed, power output, provides charts showing turbine efficiency as a function of both flow and power, the powerplant kWh output and the turbo-generator water-to-wire cost, for 10 different turbine configurations. The data is then screened for applic

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Turbine selection for small low-head hydro developments.ByJ. L. Gordon, P. Eng.Hydropower consultant.Abstract There are many different types of turbine configurations available for low-head small hydro developments. Both axial flow (propeller) and radial flow (Francis) turbines can be used in about 10 different configurations, resulting in considerable difficulty in arriving at the most economical and appropriate unit. This short article outlines the steps used in conjunction with a computer program, to arrive at the types of units available for the site. The input data for the program includes the flow, desired number of units, the head, the system frequency, the tailwater level, and the operating pattern in hours per annum at each flow, as obtained from a flow-duration curve. The program calculates the runner size and setting relative to tailwater, speed, power output, provides charts showing turbine efficiency as a function of both flow and power, the powerplant kWh output and the turbo-generator water-to-wire cost, for 10 different turbine configurations. The data is then screened for applicability to the site, and the inappropriate units discarded. The remaining units are further compared, and two units are recommended, one based on maximum weighted efficiency, and the other on minimum cost per kWh output.Two options are included in the program, one for the maximum allowable gearbox capacity (where used), and the other for the quality of the generato

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