Development of high-efficiency and low-cost unshrouded turbine runner for small scale hydropower plant

T. Aida, Y. Nakamura, K. Miyagawa

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Facing a growing demand for low initial cost and high-efficiency small scale hydropower plants, a new type of Francis turbine was developed for Kazunogawa small hydropower plant with cooperation from industrial, governmental, and academic sectors. To reduce the cost of the turbine while increasing its efficiency, a prototype turbine with an unshrouded runner and a cylindrical casing was developed. The unshrouded runner was designed by Waseda University. Typically, the turbine runner for small scale hydropower is manufactured via a casting method; however, the unshrouded runner can be milled with a 5 axis CNC machine, thereby reducing cost and manufacturing lead time. A cylindrical casing has advantages of low fabrication cost and compact footprint. However, it had lower efficiency compared to a spiral casing with conventional design. Therefore, in this study, topology optimization based on CFD analysis was conducted on the casing and double circular cascade to improve efficiency. In addition, the axial thrust was estimated from CFD analysis to design the bearings and to determine the runner gap. Finally, a performance test was conducted on-site and peak efficiency of 91% was confirmed. This paper also reports the follow-up observation of the prototype turbine after commercial operation started.

Original languageEnglish
Article number022055
JournalIOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Mar 28
Event29th IAHR Symposium on Hydraulic Machinery and Systems, IAHR 2018 - Kyoto, Japan
Duration: 2018 Sept 162018 Sept 21

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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