CFD and Experimental Study in the Optimization of an Energy Converter for Low Heads

H. M. Ramos, M. Simão, A. Borga


This paper deals with new design of low head turbines, as feasible solutions to solve the lack of energy in rural and remote areas, or to provide energy from urban water pipe systems. Propeller turbines are then the subject of this research because they are suitable for small heads, discharges with little variability, easy to manufacture and with low costs associated. Hence, the aims are the design of quite simple tubular propeller turbines and the analysis of hydrodynamic behaviour for different number and configuration of blades, based on CFD analyses and experimental tests development. An advanced hydrodynamic code based on the finite volume method, as well as blades configuration and mesh specific models are used for the impeller and the turbine design. The blade geometry is optimized using mathematical formulations and experimental results, concerning the possible range of operation under best efficiency conditions. Performance curves are obtained for typical characteristic parameters allowing comparisons between CFD and experimental results. Based on the similarity theory applied to turbomachines it is possible to evaluate the hydrodynamic behaviour through a tubular propeller for different sizes, in a scale model application.


Low head turbines, Fluid dynamics, Tubular propeller, CDF analysis, Performance curves

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