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research-article

Design optimization of a vaneless "fish-friendly" swirl injector for small water turbines

[+] Author and Article Information
Ajith Airody

Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering University of Waterloo 200 University Ave. W. Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3G1 Canada
aairody@uwaterloo.ca

David de Montmorency

AlfaStar Hydro Kitchener, Ontario N2R 1J4 Canada
dave@alfastarhydro.com

Sean D. Peterson

Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering University of Waterloo 200 University Ave. W. Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3G1 Canada
peterson@mme.uwaterloo.ca

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4036667 History: Received February 03, 2016; Revised April 06, 2017

Abstract

Large-scale power generation and delivery to remote locales is often expensive and can have deleterious effects on the local ecosystem. With smaller environmental footprints, small-scale run-of-river hydroelectric facilities that are capable of generating power from the modest head provided by streams and rivers are attractive alternatives. Concern remains, however, for the health and safety of the local fish population in these water ways. In order to reduce the impact of small-scale axial turbine-based hydroelectric facilities on the local fauna, AlfaStar Hydro has proposed a vaneless swirl injector to replace traditional turbine inlet guide vanes. Herein we perform a numerical study of the flow development in the vaneless swirl injector as a function of the number of revolutions and the pitch angle of the rifling in the absence of a rotor towards maximizing turbine efficiency. Swirl intensity, pressure loss in the injector, and axial and circumferential velocity distributions are incorporated as performance metrics into an objective function in order to optimize the casing design. Results indicate that the number of revolutions of the injector has considerably less influence on overall performance than does pitch angle. The casing with the best predicted performance consists of 4 revolutions at a pitch angle of 25 degrees.

Copyright (c) 2017 by ASME
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