The History and Design of a Rapidly Deployable Advanced Hubless Low Head Hydropower Turbine

Open Access
Brown, Erik J
Graduate Program:
Mechanical Engineering
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
March 22, 2017
Committee Members:
  • John M. Cimbala, Thesis Advisor
  • Hydropower
  • Turbine
  • Hubless
  • Rapidly deployable
  • Design
  • History
  • Variable speed
  • Integrated
  • Low head
The hydroturbines currently in industry and literature have a high levelized cost of energy (LCoE) in low head and low power environments, are not able to operate over a wide range of changing flow conditions, and are not self-cleaning. A turbine has been designed that and can offer all of the advantages stated above, with the added benefit of being rapidly deployable. It is shown that the designed hubless turbine prototype turbine can operate at 90.6 percent peak efficiency, producing 41.2 kW of power. The turbine design can be scaled to fit various waterways, and can respond to a range of inlet flow conditions via an integrated variable speed drive (the range for the present design is from 108 to 225 RPM). The history and design of this new turbine is examined, and future work for advancement of the understanding of the flow physics is recommended.