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Hydropower Turbines

Hydropower Turbine

Hydropower Turbine

There are a number of different hydropower turbine types available that are suited to different heads and flows. We are often asked which the best turbine type is, but the answer is always that there isn’t a ‘best’ but there is a ‘most appropriate’ for your particular site.

For each hydropower turbine type there will be a number of manufacturers who provide turbines of differing performance and quality. In our experience it is always worth buying a good quality turbine with a proven track record, because these will perform day-in, day-out reliably. Also most hydropower turbines have the concrete structures designed around them and in many cases the main casing is cast into the structure, so it isn’t an item you want to change later!

The table below summarises the main hydropower turbines that are available and where you would use them. For the common turbines types we have a lot more detail on the relevant page in the Hydro Learning Centre, so click the link for more information.

Hydropower Turbine Type Typical Site Characteristics
Archimedean Screw Low heads (1.5 – 5 metres)Medium to high flows (1 to 20 m3/s).For higher flows multiple screws are used.
Crossflow turbine Low to medium heads (2 – 40 metres)
Low to medium flows (0.1 – 5 m3/s)
Kaplan turbine Low to medium heads (1.5 – 20 metres)
Medium to high flows (3 m3/s – 30 m3/s)
For higher flows multiple turbines can be used.
Pelton/Turgo turbine High heads (greater than 25 metres)
Lower flows (0.01 m3/s – 0.5 m3/s)
Waterwheels Low heads (1 – 5 metres) – though turbines often
more appropriate for higher heads
Medium flows (0.3 – 1.5 m3/s)
Francis turbines No longer commonly used except in very large storage hydropower systems, though lots of older, smaller turbines are in existence and can be restored.
For older turbines : Low to medium heads (1.5 – 20 metres)
Medium flows (0.5 – 4 m3/s)

There are some more esoteric turbine designs out there, but we are yet to see anything that can outperform the widely-used types listed above.

Are you considering a hydropower project in the UK, Ireland or overseas?

Renewables First have considerable experience as a hydro consultant and have a full project capability, from initial feasibility study through to system design and installation.

The first step to develop any small or micro hydropower site is to conduct a full feasibility study.

Contact us about a feasibility study today!

Once complete, you will understand the site potential and be guided through the next steps to develop your project. You can read more about hydropower in our Hydro Learning Centre.