Optimisation and design of two micro-hydro turbines for medium and low head applications.
The necessity to develop an automated process for the design of micro-hydro power systems was based on the increasing demand for hydropower as a renewable energy source and to develop cost effective power supplies to rural areas. The application of the formula for the design of these systems is then to simplify the selection of the turbine sizing and is made possible by the similarity laws that exist within turbine and pump families. in addition the sizing of the supply and exhaust piping is also a matter of scaling. No selection process of turbine type is included due to the limitations of cost effectiveness and the category of size into which the turbine was specified. Furthermore. a new approach to turbine design was separately undertaken to satisfy low head and low flow-rate conditions. However, it was only designed up to a cost analysis with no manufacturing having been undertaken. The axial flow turbine. which was most suited for micro-hydro was designed and built as a prototype with a standardized mounting frame. The initial conditions used to generare the velocity vectors and angles were specific to the installation site and used to computationally generate the rotor and stator blades. This required an analysis of the different profiles available as well as research into their design. Once the blade profile stacking had been determined, this was translated into a software program that developed the blades from site-specific initial conditions. However, the design of the blades was interdependent on the dimensioning of the rest of the turbine components and designing these in parallel proved to be an intricate task. With the design complete, the turbine was then installed and testing proceeded with the use of pressure gauges and the results of torque and rpm obtained from a dynamometer. Analysis of the results was undertaken and presented in graphical format with comments on both the design and results.