The productivity and costs of tailor-made, small hydro turbines should be improved by 3-5% through the application of a numerical optimisation methodology currently being designed by EU-funded scientists. Having received positive feedback from small EU hydro companies about the need for such a project, the research team selected different parameterisation methods for each turbine type, with best features concerning both the design flexibility and the cost-effective applicability for optimisation. The team behind the Hydroaction project then selected flow simulation tools, which involved adopting and applying the 'Lagrangian smoothed particle hydrodynamics' model. Thirdly, the team adopted hierarchical, distributed and meta-model assisted evolutionary algorithms to accelerate the optimisation of turbine design. The team noted that preliminary performance was satisfactory, and has continued with the construction and adaptation of three test rigs for the prototype turbine models, namely the action type turbines Pelton and Turgo, as well as the reaction type Matrix turbine. The researchers believe that within 30 years most small action turbines installed in Europe could take advantage of the project results, thereby enhancing the competitiveness of European companies and the EU in general.
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