Numerical Investigation and Optimization of a Miniature In-Pipe Hydropower Turbine

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The Ohio State University

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Pico hydropower energy generation, an emerging field in renewable technology, has faced limited funding and attention in the past due to the inherent lower efficiencies found for smaller scale turbines. This research addresses the need to provide a small amount of power in situations where consistent power availability and water quality may be a concern. Specifically, this research numerically investigates the performance of miniature turbine designs suitable for integration within water piping of facilities or homes to provide enough wattage for UV LED water disinfection at the point of use (POU) scale. Aiming to maximize the energy extracted from water flowing at POU water pipe pressure and flow rates, this study conducts Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) analysis. This research evaluates the hydrodynamic performance of a pre-manufactured turbine. After this, changes to the nozzle geometry were made in an attempt to improve efficiency. After varying the height of the nozzle, a max hydraulic efficiency of 22.05% was found at a flow rate of 2.2 GPM and a runner rotational velocity of 2200 RPM. The results suggest that further numerical analysis of various changes to the turbine geometry would be useful. A more complete nozzle geometry parameterization study is recommended as the next optimization step. Changing the runner hub size, and the number of blades on the runner is another recommended course of action. Once a promising novel geometry has been identified, the Hydro and Aero Energy Group (HAEG) will continue with producing a physical prototype of a POU miniature hydropower turbine.



Hydropower, CFD, Turbine, Water Disinfection, Renewable, Numerical