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Research Papers: Alternative Energy Sources

Optimization of Kaplan Hydroturbine at Very Low Head With Rim-Driven Generator

[+] Author and Article Information
Ahmad I. Abbas

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee,
3200 N. Cramer Street, Room 775,
Milwaukee, WI 53211
e-mail: aiabbas@uwm.edu

Ryoichi S. Amano

Fellow ASME
Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee,
115 E. Reindl Way, Glendale, WI 53212
e-mail: amano@uwm.edu

Mandana S. Saravani

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee,
3200 N. Cramer Street, Room 775,
Milwaukee, WI 53211
e-mail: sheikhz2@uwm.edu

Mohammad D. Qandil

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee,
3200 N. Cramer Street, Room 775,
Milwaukee, WI 53211
e-mail: mdqandil@uwm.edu

Tomoki Sakamoto

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee,
3200 N. Cramer Street, Room 775,
Milwaukee, WI 53211
e-mail: tomoki.sakamoto522@gmail.com

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Advanced Energy Systems Division of ASME for publication in the Journal of Energy Resources Technology. Manuscript received January 18, 2019; final manuscript received May 3, 2019; published online May 28, 2019. Assoc. Editor: Hameed Metghalchi.

J. Energy Resour. Technol 141(11), 111204 (May 28, 2019) (12 pages) Paper No: JERT-19-1036; doi: 10.1115/1.4043710 History: Received January 18, 2019; Accepted May 05, 2019

The objective of the paper is to study the design and optimization of Kaplan hydroturbines for a very low head (less than 3 m), with a particular emphasis on the use of rim-drive electrical generators. The work is based on an experimental setup and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis of various design parameters for maximum output power and efficiency. Two designs are presented in this paper. One is a 90-cm (35-in.) diameter vertical-oriented Kaplan hydroturbine system as an intended product capable of generating over 50 kW. The other is a smaller, 7.6-cm (3-in.) diameter horizontal-oriented system for prototyping and laboratory verification. Both are analyzed through CFD based on large eddy simulation (LES) of transient turbulence. Specific design for the runner and the stator, intake tube shape, as well as guide vanes upstream of the turbine was studied to get the most from the available head. The intent is to use 3D-printing manufacturing techniques, which may offer original design opportunities as well as the possibility of turbine and water conduit design customization as a function of the head and flow available from a specific site. Based on the CFD analysis, the 7.6-cm diameter system achieved the highest power output and the maximum efficiency at the rotational speed range of 1500–2000 rpm, while for the experimental testing, the optimum rotational speed range was 1000–1500 rpm. Because of the mismatch between CFD and experimental results, the CFD results were correlated due to the presence of air and friction; moreover, error and uncertainty analysis were presented for both methods. For the 90-cm case, the optimum performance was found at a rotational speed around 350 rpm according to the CFD results. Finally, investigating the shape of the intake tube of the hydroturbine setup can significantly increase the power output and the efficiency of the system.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

Turbine model: (a) stator, (b) runner, and (c) runner attached to the rim-generator ring

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Fig. 2

Experimental setup with the 7.6-cm turbine at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

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Fig. 3

Turbine prototype made from the 3D-printing process: (a) runner, (b) runner and stator, and (c) runner being manufactured

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Fig. 4

Simulation model, the 7.6-cm hydroturbine system

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Fig. 5

Simulation model, the 90-cm hydroturbine system

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Fig. 6

Mesh representation for the runner as (a) coarse mesh 0.8 M, (b) fine mesh 1.5 M, and (c) very fine mesh 4.4 M

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Fig. 7

Mesh comparison in term of power output

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Fig. 8

Mesh comparison in term of flow rate

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Fig. 9

Wall y+ values for the runner and the stator

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Fig. 10

The CFD setup: (a) 2.6 m of head and (b) 2.0 m of head

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Fig. 11

Characteristic curve (power output) of the 7.6-cm turbine: (a) 2.6 m of head and (b) 2.0 m of head

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Fig. 12

Efficiency versus speed for the 7.6-cm system at 2.6 m and 2.0 m of head

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Fig. 13

Power output and efficiency versus speed for the 90-cm system

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Fig. 14

Mass flow rate versus speed for the 7.6-cm system at 2.0 m of head

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Fig. 15

Comparison CFD tests, with CFD corrected for the presence of air (Wb)

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Fig. 16

Comparison CFD tests, with CFD corrected for the presence of air and friction (Wf)

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Fig. 17

Cross-sectional view for the guide vane/vanes in the elbow: case (a) without guide vane; case (b) two flat guide vanes; case (c) one flat guide vane; and case (d) one curved guide vane

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Fig. 18

Pressure distribution (a) without guide vanes, (b) with two flat guide vanes, (c) with one flat guide vane, and (d) with one curved guide vane

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Fig. 19

2D sketch for the elbow with one flat guide vane

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Fig. 20

2D sketch for the elbow and the curved guide vane

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Fig. 21

Mass flow rate results for the flat guide vane

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Fig. 22

Mass flow rate results for the curved guide vane

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Fig. 23

Pressure drop results for the flat guide vane

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Fig. 24

Pressure drop results for the curved guide vane

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Fig. 25

Profile sketch of the bellmouth-shaped intake tube with a simple radius

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Fig. 26

The geometry of the intake tube with (right) and without (left) the bellmouth shape

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Fig. 27

Power output and efficiency comparison between the intake tube with simple radius bellmouth versus without bellmouth

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Fig. 28

The velocity vector of the flow around the intake tube: (a) without bellmouth and (b) with bellmouth

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