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Development and laboratory testing of improved action and Matrix hydro turbines designed by advanced analysis and optimization tools

Periodic Report Summary - HYDROACTION (Development and laboratory testing of improved action and Matrix hydro turbines designed by advanced analysis and optimization tools)

Project concept
The scope of HYDROACTION project is to develop a methodology (along with the associated tools) for the low-cost design-optimisation of tailor-made small hydro turbines (up to 5 MW), with regard to productivity and costs. The research is oriented towards small action type turbines (Pelton and Turgo), as well as the reaction type Matrix turbine, through the development-adaptation and application of an optimisation methodology using CFD analysis tools and a multilevel optimisation platform, specifically developed and/or adapted during the project. The generic methodology will be finally validated on the three turbine types by constructing and laboratory testing of reduced-scale models for each of them.

Results achieved so far
The questionnaire is created and distributed to small-hydro companies of Europe, and the results were analysed. The project scope is favourably viewed by the companies.

Different parameterisation methods were selected for each specific turbine type, with best features concerning both the design flexibility and the cost-effective applicability for optimisation. The selected flow simulation tools, after proper adaptation and further improvements, fulfil the requirements of results accuracy and computer costs.

Significant progress concerning the SPH method was achieved, thanks to which the method can now be applied for multiparametric design optimisation, thus removing a potential risk of the project. Most of the various technical problems concerning the use of open-source post processing software were addressed.

The optimisation framework is completed earlier than the schedule, thus providing more time for additional tests. All 'robots' have been installed and the multilevel platform is regulated and validated. Hierarchical, distributed and metamodel assisted evolutionary algorithms were adopted to accelerate the optimisation of turbines design, and preliminary performance was satisfactory.

Targeted dissemination and presentation of project scope and results is continuous and successful, and with the contribution of most participants.

The construction and adaptation of all three test rigs for the prototype turbine models, which was associated with a second potential risk of the project, is well progressed and in line with the schedule.

Expected final results
The innovative design methodology will be validated and assessed after thorough experimental analysis of performance and efficiency characteristics of the prototype turbine models that will be constructed.

By the application of the new methodology a 3 to 5 % increase of productivity is foreseen, thanks to the increase of the efficiency and the extension of the operating range, as also due to the tailor-made design.

Development of know-how in hydraulic turbomachines design by gathering of all knowledge produced throughout the project, and taking advantage of the experience accumulated up to now by the manufacturers and users of small hydraulic turbines.

Potential impact and use
The project realisation will bring advanced CFD tools combined with modern optimisation methods into the design of small hydraulic turbines. This innovative design methodology constitutes the next step beyond systemisation.

The new procedure can be easily customised to produce the optimum design at each specific site, while keeping the manufacturing costs affordable even for independent SME manufacturers. This capability constitutes a competitive asset and can be extremely environment favourable. Considering both new and renovated units, in 30 years depth most of small action turbines installed in Europe could take advantage of the project results, enhancing competitiveness of European companies and EU in general.

The partners can use the results in future works, such as turbines standardisation that can lead to further cost reduction. Also, they can extend the applicability of the methodology to other types of hydraulic machinery.