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4. Types of Hydropower Plants


Classification of Hydropower Plants

y p
p
y
Hydropower
plants exhibit a g
great deal of variety.

Almost every hydropower project has some special features uncommon with
other projects of the same type.

Thus,
Th
h d
hydropower
plants
l t could
ld be
b classified
l
ifi d on the
th basis
b i of:
f

The hydraulic features of the plant


p
g features of the p
plant
Operating
Plant Capacity
Construction Features (layout)
Location & topographical features
Presence or absence of storage
The range of operating heads

A complete understanding of the types of hydropower

developments

requires

information

under

all

such

categories.
An important point which should be borne in mind is that

all those classifications are not mutually exclusive.


Thus,
Th
th presence or absence
the
b
off storage
t
also
l to
t some

extent determines the hydraulic features of the plant.


The operational features of the plant are determined

presence or absence of storage.


g
byy p

1 Classification based on hydraulic features


1.
The basic hydraulic principle governs the type of classification in this
category.

i.
i Conventional Hydro-plants
Use normally available hydraulic energy of the flowing water of the rivers.
e.g. Run-of river plant, diversion plant, storage plant

ii. Pumped storage plants


Use the concept of recycling the same water by using pumping

selectively.
Normally used with areas with a shortage of water.
water
It generates energy for peak load, and at off-peak periods water is

pumped back for future use.


A pumped storage plant is an economical addition to a system which

increases the load factor of other systems and also provides additional
capacity
it to
t meett the
th peakk load.
l d

iii Unconventional Hydro


plants
iii.
Hydro-plants
a) Tidal power plant
Use
U the
th tidal
tid l energy off the
th sea water.
t
Very few have been constructed due to structural complication.

b) Wave power plant


c) Depression power plant
Hydropower generated by diverting an ample source of water (e.g. sea

water) in the natural depression which provides operating head for the
plant
Water level in the depression is controlled by natural evaporation

process

2. Classification based on actual operation in meeting the demand


) operating
p
g independently
p
y
isolated p
plant ((SCS) mini and small hydropower scheme serving small community

interconnected into g
grids ((ICS))
Thus in a grid system, a power station may be distinguished as a

base load p
plant or p
peak load p
plant.
Hydropower plants are best suited as peak load plants, because

hydropower
y p
p
plants can start relatively
yq
quickly
y and can thus accept
p
load quickly

3 Classification based on storage and pondage


3.
Storage becomes necessary when the flow is uneven

over a year.
Construction
C
i
off a dam
d
usually
ll implies
i li
a much
h more

efficient and controlled use of the available water.


Without storage, the plant uses only the natural flow as

best as it can.
In such cases, only a mini-reservoir or a pondage which

t k care off day-to-day


takes
d t d fluctuations
fl t ti
may be
b necessary.

4. Classification based on location and topography


Normally plants in hilly areas are always associated with

dams;
whereas
h
plants
l
i plain
in
l i areas may have
h
only
l weirs
i for
f the
h

main structure.
For plants situated far in the interior and away from load

centers the transmission costs are relativelyy more.


Thus the knowledge about the location and topography of a

plant helps us to appreciate these points.


points

5. Classification based on plant capacity

Classification of hydropower plants on the basis of plant capacity changes with time as technology
improves.

Classification according to Mosonyi, and present day trend are:

According to Mosonyi:
i) Midget plant

up to 100 KW

ii) Low capacity plant

< 1 MW

iii) Medium capacity plant

< 10 MW

iv) High capacity plant

> 10 MW

Present day classification:


i) Micro hydropower

< 5 MW

ii) Medium capacity plants

5 to 100 MW

iii) High capacity plants

101 to 1,000 MW

iv) Super plants

above 1,000 MW

6 Classification based on head


6.
While any of the above classifications could be used to describe a

power plant the most popular & convenient classification is based on


the head operating on the turbine.
On
O this
thi basis
b i :

i) Low head plants

< 15m

ii) Medium head plants

15-50m

iii) High head plants

50-250m

iv) Very high head plants

> 250m

7 Classification based on constructional features


7.
(layouts)
In this category hydropower development could be

classified based on the dominant construction features of


th plant
the
l t as:
Run-off-river plants (low to medium head plants)
Valley dam plants (Medium to high head plants)
Diversion Canal Plants
High head diversion plants
Pumped
P
d storage
t
plants
l t

Site Selection, Layouts & Arrangements


for Low, Medium & High Head Plants
1.Run-off-river plants (low to medium head plants)
The normal flow of the river is not materially
y disturbed due to the

construction of the plant;


They have small ponds to provide the necessary pondage in order to

balance day-to-day fluctuation;


Such plants neither have a significant storage nor do they have a

diversion of the water away from the main channel;


A weir or barrage is built across a river & the low head created is used to

generate power.
It also acts as a controlled spilling device

The power house is located along the main course of the river;
Preferred in perennial rivers with moderate to high discharge, flat

slope, with low sediment and stable reach of a river.


Water enters the power house through an intake structure

incorporating some or all of the following:


Entrance flume separated by piers and walls for each machine

unit.

The appurtenances of the entrance structure are the sill, fine rack or
screen and gate;

Turbine
T bi chamber
h b off scrollll case with
ith turbine;
t bi
Concrete or steel draft tube;
Power
P
h
house
b ildi
building

Depending on different arrangements, Mosonyi proposed the

following groupings of the run-of-river plants:


i.

Block power plant,

ii.

Twin power plant,

iii.

Pier-head power plant,

iv.

Submersible power plant

These groupings are mainly on the basis of constructional arrangements of the


power house vis--vis the weir.

Block Power Station:


is the most widely used arrangement among the above mentioned

layouts.
Power house provided along one bank adjacent to weir and separated

only by a divide wall;


If actual
t l width
idth is
i smallll it may be
b enlarged
l
d by
b excavating
ti
a bay
b which
hi h

may offer many advantages.


Among
g the advantages
g is having
g sufficient weir length
g which can p
pass

the flood without obstruction.


However, one side bay gives rise to curvilinear flow and adversely

affects
ff
the
h turbine
bi efficiency.
ffi i
The eddies and vortices developed in the bay may also move the bed

load sediment which eventually enters the machines.

The consideration of the choice a bay


point that the width of the river left after the
y is based on the p
accommodation of the plant should be sufficient to pass the design flood without creating
unfavorable flow conditions.

Length of the weir, and also the location of the piers, thus, influences the hydraulic conditions.

Twin Power Station:


is
s ssimilar
a in a
arrangement
a ge e t with
t b
block
oc po
power
e stat
station
o e
except
cept tthat
at instead
stead o
of a

single power house, two power houses at the two banks are provided.

If the plant discharge capacity is large at a low head, then it becomes


difficult to achieve satisfactory flow conditions in a single bay and uniform
normal flow to the racks, because of an unusually long power station and a
l
large
b
bay.

Under such circumstances a twin power house is preferred by dividing the

power station on either side of the central weir.


weir

Such type of arrangement is suitable on straight stretches or in

the straight short cut of a bend or in bends where the bed load
is not heavy.
The main advantage of this type of layout is the existence of
more uniform current in all operating conditions compared to
block power stations.
A variation of this type of power house is the island-type
arrangement in which a block type of power station is located
centrally and on both sides of it are the portions of the weir.
The twin power station presents some difficulties which
outnumber the advantages of it.
Higher investment cost,
cost
higher maintenance and supervision costs and
the practical difficulty of carrying the cables with high voltage are

some of the factors which go against such installation.

Pier head power station:


is one which houses a turbine generator set in each pier (hollowed

out piers) of the weir.


Under special requirements, a pier can also house two generating

sets.
A pier head power station is suitable when there is no possibility of

widening the river bed and the river stretch is straight or slightly
curved.
This is one of the advantages of this layout where the valley is

comparatively narrow.
This layout gives the most uniform current distribution in all flow

conditions.
diti

S b
ibl power station:
t ti
Submersible
In this type of plants, the machine hall is provided under

the body of the weir.


The
e weir
e floor
oo se
serves
es p
practically
ac ca y as the
e roof
oo o
of the
e

machine hall.
This
Thi type
t
off layout
l
t is
i selected
l t d for
f low
l
h d (6 15 m)) in
heads
i

rivers with little bed load transport and large floods.

2. Valley dam plants (medium to high head plants)


The dominant feature is the dam that creates the required storage (to

balance seasonal fluctuations) and necessary head for the power


house;
Power house is located at the toe of the dam;
No diversion of water away from the main river is involved;
Water
W t flows
fl
th
through
h the
th penstock
t k embedded
b dd d in
i the
th dam
d
or diverted
di t d into
i t

a cannel/tunnel system to deliver flow to the power house;


There are different arrangements of the power house location vis
vis--vis
vis

spillway location. If the spillway is in the central portion of the dam, then
the power house may be located on one of the banks or as twin power
house, one on each bank.

Single power house


Twin power house

Important components of a valley dam plant:


The dam with its appurtenance structures like spillway,

energy dissipation arrangements, etc;


The intake with racks,
racks stop logs,
logs gates & ancillaries;
The penstock conveying water to the turbine with inlet

valve & anchorage;


The main p
power house with its components
p
.

HW

TW

Occasionally
Occasionally,

the

power

house

is

situated

not

immediately at the toe of the dam but at some distance


downstream.
d
t
Such arrangement is costlier than the more general dam-

and-power house-together-arrangement and is adopted


onlyy when it offers some special
p
advantages
g
like achieving extra head (e. g. Melka Wakena HP).
The arrangement, however, needs longer conveyances

with consequent losses

Storage plant (remote development):


The dam structure is separated from the power station by

a considerable distance over which the water is


conveyed,
d generally
ll by
b a tunnell and
d pipeline,
i li
so as to
achieve medium and high heads at the plants ;
The reservoir storage upstream of the dam increases the

firm capacity
p
y of the p
plant substantially,
y, and depending
p
g on
the annual run-off and power requirements, the plant may
be used as a base load and/or peak-load
peak load installation.
installation

3 Diversion
Di
i n canal
n l pl
nt
3.
plants
The distinguishing feature is the presence of power

canal that diverts the water away from the main stream
channel;
The power house is provided at suitable location along
the stretch of the canal;
The water often flowing through the turbine is
brought back to the main stream;
Diversion canal plants are generally low head or
medium head plants;
They don't have storage reservoir;
Pondage requirement is met through a pool called
forebay located just upstream of the power house;

The development of the required head in diversion canal plants may be

achieved by:
y be made available due to the flatter bed slopes
p
The head may
of p
power
canal (as compared with the river);
besides, due the river meanders, the length of the river between two points

may be much greater as compared to that of the relatively straight reach of


the channel
y If the river has a natural fall,
fall diverting the water from upstream side of the fall

& locating the power house at the downstream side of the fall provide the
required head;
y In inter-basin diversion, water may be diverted from a higher level river to a

lower river through a diversion canal to the power house located at the lower
river;

The above discussions make it clear that diversion power plants are

most suitable on rivers either of steep slopes or meandering reaches.


Further,
Further due to economic considerations,
considerations discharges of such plants

have to be moderate.
Run-of-river
Run of river plant,
plant almost invariably,
invariably would be more economical for a

large discharge development.

Main structures of the diversion canal plant:


1) Diversion weir with its appurtenant structures;
2) Diversion canal intake with its ancillary works such as
sills, trash racks, skimmer wall, sluices, settling basin,
de-silting canal, and silt exclusion arrangement is
needed in some sediment laden streams;
3) Bridges or culverts of the diversion canal;
4) Forebay & its appurtenant structures.

4 Hi h h
d diversion
di
i plants
l t
4.High
head
The features of such a plant the development of high

head resulting from the diversion of water, which could be


achieved by:
Diverting the river water through a system of canals and

tunnels to a downstream point of the same river;


Diverting the water through canals and tunnels to a point on

another river which is at much lower level.


level

There may be two situation concerning storage of this

arrangement:
1)

2)

A diversion weir to create pondage (and no storage). Here like


run
of river plant the power production is governed by the
run-of-river
natural flow in the river.
Storage may be provided on the main river at the point of
diversion which feeds into the diversion system. This second
situation is advantageous since the fluctuation
f
in reservoir level
does not materially affect the head and the power output can be
adjusted by the controlled flow release from the reservoir.
e g Fincha & Melka Wakana power plants.
e.g.
plants
9

This advantage is not available to the valley dam plant in which the
power house is built on the downstream face of the dam.
Under such cases, a change in reservoir level also changes the head
proportionately.
ti
t l
If the length of the pressure tunnel is considerable, a surge tank may
be provided upstream of the power station, which may smoothen the
fluctuation of flow demand.
This purpose was served in the canal plants by the forebay.

Canals follow the contours of the terrain and thus

may not have the shortest route from the intake to


the power house.
Tunnels,
T
l however,
h
can make
k through
th
h their
th i way by
b

the shortest distance and thus create enormous


heads apart from enabling to divert water of one
basin to another

Main
Components
of high
diversion
plants:
a Co
po e s o
g head
ead d
e so p
a s

Diversion weir with appurtenant structures;

Canal/tunnel;
C
l/t
l

Head race either open cut or tunnels with its


structures;

Forebay/surge tank;

Penstock;

Power house;

Tail race.

High head diversion canal plants are more or less similar

to the low head diversion canal plants.


The
is,
the
Th main
i point
i t off difference
diff
i however,
h
th elaborate
l b t

conveyance system for the high head plants (diversion


tunnel plants).
In the diversion tunnel type plant;
the dam replaces a diversion weir,
tunnels are used for head race,
reservoir intake is used instead of a canal intake and
a surge tank
t k is
i employed
l
d in
i place
l
off a forebay
f b

5 Pumped-Storage
5.
Pumped Storage Plants
Pumped storage plants are special types of power

plants

which

work

as

ordinary

conventional

y p
stations for p
part of the time.
hydropower
Pumped storage plant is suitable where:
the natural annual run-off is insufficient to justify a

conventional hydroelectric installation;


It is possible to have reservoir at head & tail water

locations.
locations

This kind of p
plant g
generates energy
peak load, & at off
gy for p

peak period water is pumped back for future use.


During off peak periods excess power available from some
other plants in the system is used in pumping back water from
the lower reservoir.
Various arrangements are possible for higher and lower
reservoirs:
1)
2)
3)

4)

Both reservoirs in a single river;


Two reservoirs on two separate rivers close to each other and
flowing at different elevations;
Higher reservoir on artificially constructed pool on a high level
plateau or on a leveled hilltop and the lower reservoir on natural
river;
The lower reservoir in a natural lake while the higher one is on
artificially created reservoir.

Pumped Storage plants is to


Another way of describing Pumped-Storage
classify them as pure or mixed operation.
p
g p
y
p
A p
pure p
pumped
storage
plant is a closed cycle
plant with the
volume of water flowing to the lower reservoir being equal to the
volume pumped to the higher reservoir in one cycle of operation.
In such a system, same water is circulated again and again and
thus except for make-up quantity of water for seepage and
evaporation losses, the plant does not need any fresh water flow.
In mixed plants the total generation in one cycle is greater than

the total pumping during that period. In mixed type of plants, the
higher reservoir has to be necessarily on a natural stream so as
to provide greater flow during generation.

Yet another classification of the Pumped-Storage


Pumped Storage plant is

on the basis of cycle of operations.


p
y cycle
y
p g
Some p
plants are operated
on a daily
of p
pumping
and generation;
Some
S
are planned
l
d on a weekly
kl cycle
l where
h
th
the

pumping is confined to slack weekend periods only;


A few pumped storage plants have been built on a

seasonal cycle
y
where the p
pumping
p g is done during
g
seasons of lean demand and generation during high
demand season.
season

The most important basis of pumped storage plant is the

relative arrangements of turbines and pumps.


Four-unit installation - pump, motor, generator, turbine;
Three-unit installation - pump, turbine and generator

which can also function as a motor both the pump and


turbine were directly coupled to the generator/motor unit.
unit

In this case, when the turbine runs, the unit operates as a


generator and when the pump is operated the same unit operates
as a motor;

Two-unit installation - generator, turbine or reversible

pump-turbine installation.

The modern trend is to use only a two-unit installation, namely, a


generator which operates as a motor coupled to a turbine which in
turn also operates as a pump when rotating in reverse direction.
This arrangement is called reversible pump-turbine installation.

In three
three-unit
unit arrangement, the turbine and generator are permanently

locked together and the pump can be coupled during the pumping
p
phase
Reversible pump-turbines: Any reaction turbine can, technically

speaking, work as a pump if the direction of rotation is reversed.


Thus,
Thus the propeller and Kaplan turbines,
turbines the diagonal flow Deriaz
runners and the versatile Francis turbines, all can be used as
reversible machines.
The salient design features of reversible pump-turbines are not

markedly different from those of conventional turbines.


Large
g capacity
p
y units are usually
y Francis type
yp reversible p
pumpp

turbines. For low head developments, propeller/Kaplan turbines


are suitable

Th operating
ti
h
t i ti off the
th reversible
ibl machines
hi
The
characteristics
are different when it runs as a turbine and as a pump.
If the rotational speed is kept constant during both modes,

the discharge during the pumping phase is less than the


discharge during the turbine operation.
The maximum efficiency of the pump-turbine as a pump

occurs at a different speed as compared to its running as a


turbine.
In order to obtain good efficiencies at the same head, some

plants have gone in for different speeds in the two phases.


phases

M
d i
h
f
th simplicity
i li it point
i t off
Many
designs,
however,
from
the
view, keep the same rotational speed during both
phases.
In such a case,
case maximum efficiency occurs at

different heads.
Problems of operation: The main problem of a high head

pump is cavitation.
Cavitation is the phenomenon which manifests in the flow when

the pressures are nearing vapour pressure of water.

Thoma has suggested a cavitation parameter, , for turbines and

pumps as;

Where hb, hs, and h are the barometric head, the suction head (or

the height of the pump above tailwater level) and the total effective
head on the pump, respectively.
According to Thoma, for cavitation free running, , has to be greater
than a critical value given by;

For high values of head h, hs comes out to be negative and hence it

becomes necessary to provide the pump with negative suction head.

words the power house location has to be so


In other words,
fixed that the pump operates under submerged condition.
The magnitude of submergence depends upon the

specific speed and the net head.


If the submergence required is high, the power house

has to be located in underground rock caverns.


caverns
As a result, many of the pumped-storage plants have

underground power houses.

Desirable site characteristics

1. In order to be cost-effective, an off-stream pumped storage


site should have most or all of the following characteristics:

geologic
g
g conditions should be suitable for water-tight
g reservoirs

head should be as high as possible;

length of water conduit (intake tunnel


tunnel, penstock
penstock, and discharge
tunnel) should be as short as possible;

reservoir
i sites
it should
h ld require
i minimum
i i
excavation
ti and
d

embankment

use existing reservoir for lower reservoir, if possible;


both reservoirs should have suitable drawdown

characteristics;
site should be suitable for a large power installation;
site should be located reasonably close to load

centers or transmission corridors;


source(s) of relatively low cost pumping energy

should be available

2 H
d Reservoir
R
i storage
t
i
t are inversely
i
l
2.
Head:
requirements
proportional to head (Figure below),
y selecting
g a site with
so reservoir costs can be minimized by

a high head.
Hydraulic capacity is also inversely proportional to head.
so penstock
t k diameter,
di
t and
d hence
h
penstock
t k costs,
t can also
l
be minimized by maximizing head.
For a given plant capacity, powerhouse costs are lower for
high head plants.
This is because the units run at higher speeds and highspeed machines are smaller than low
low-speed
speed machines.
Because smaller water volumes are required at high head
plants, reservoir drawdowns are usually smaller at both
reservoirs.
reservoirs

Figure. Reservoir storage required vs. head for 1000 MW plant with 14
hours of storage

3 Length of water conduits: Costs of water conduits (intake tunnels,


tunnels
3.
penstocks, and discharge tunnels) can represent one-quarter or
more of a pumped
storage project
s costs,
pumped-storage
projects
so sites should be sought which will require minimum penstock

and discharge
g tunnel lengths.
g
This is particularly important at the lower head sites, because of

the larger
g p
penstock and tunnel diameters involved.
The economic limits to length of water conduits is a function of

head and can be expressed


p
in terms of the length
g between the
two pools along the water passage to head (L/H) ratios.

Th less
l
th value
l
thi ratio,
ti
th more
The
the
off this
the
economic is the pumped-storage project.
Recent experience suggests that maximum

acceptable L/H ratios range


from 10 to 12 for high-head
g
((370-460 m.)) p
projects
j
down to 4 to 5 for low-head (150-180 m.) sites.

4 Upper Reservoirs: Upper reservoirs are usually constructed


4.
either with a dam across a natural valley or with an enclosure
dike around a flat area,
area often on a hilltop.
hilltop
To minimize costs, sites should be sought where minimum

excavation
ti and
d embankment
b k
t volumes
l
are required,
i d and
d
sites having natural depressions are particularly desirable
Large drawdown may cause slope instability,
so sites with large, relatively shallow reservoirs are usually

preferred to narrow, steep reservoirs.

5 Lower
L
R
i
P j t costs
t can often
ft
b reduced
d
d
5.
Reservoirs:
Project
be
by using existing reservoirs as lower reservoirs.
However, care should be taken to insure that sufficient storage

is available to handle fluctuations due to pumped-storage


operation in addition to fluctuations resulting from existing
reservoir operations.
Because of the limited head range for efficient pump-turbine

p
and submergence
g
requirements,
q
caution should be
operation
exercised when considering the use of existing multiplepurpose
p
p
reservoirs with large
g fluctuation ranges.
g

pumped storage plants


Efficiency of pumped-storage
It is customary to state that for every 3 kW input, you

may expect 2 kW output in pumped storage plants.


plants
The normally attainable overall plant efficiency is
around 70%.
It should be worked out as below, for closed cycle
operation:

head
Now if Q is the discharge and H is the gross head,
Then,

Where t = the overall efficiencyy of g


generation ((including
g
turbine, generator and transformer efficiency).
And

Where p = overall efficiency of pumping operation


operation.
Then,

hf =kH

then

Average values of t, p, and k are respectively 0.88,


0.85, and 0.02 to 0.03. With these values, the overall
efficiency comes out to be 72%.

Example
y
p
p g
g p
A closed cycle
pumping-storage
plant with a g
gross head of
350 m, has a head race tunnel 4 m diameter and 700 m
long The power house discharges directly into the lower
long.
reservoir. The flow velocity is 6.5 m/s and the friction factor
f = 0.018.
0 018 If the
th overallll efficiencies
ffi i
i
off the
th pumping
i
and
d
generation are 85% and 88%, respectively, estimate the
plant efficiency.

S l ti
Solution
Frictionheadloss

=6.8m
6 8
Therefore,

hf = kH
6 8 = k x 350
6.8
K = 0.0194 0.02

efficiency
Plant efficiency,

=71.86%