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Investigation on pump as turbine (PAT)

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schemes: A state-of-the-art review

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Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 79 (2017) 148179

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Investigation on pump as turbine (PAT) technical aspects for micro MARK

hydropower schemes: A state-of-the-art review

Maxime Binamaa, Wen-Tao Sua, , Xiao-Bin Lia, Feng-Chen Lia, , Xian-Zhu Weia,b, Shi Anc
School of Energy Science and Engineering, Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin 150001, China
State Key Laboratory of Hydropower Equipment, Harbin Institute of Large Electric Machinery, Harbin 150040, China
School of Management, Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin 150001, China


Keywords: Energy is unarguably the key factor for today's economic and social development within nations. Electricity as
Micro-hydropower one of many energy forms is a critical input to developing countries in the struggle to the national self-
Pump turbine satisfaction in all domains. Rural electricity supply involved institutions have recently recommended the pump
Performance prediction as turbine (PAT)-based micro hydropower plant (MHP) schemes for remote o-grid electrication, mostly from
Pressure uctuation
their economic advantages. However, from dierent published research ndings, PAT-based MHP is not only
Flow stability
simple and economically feasible, but has presented bottlenecks in the move to its full understanding. Moreover,
compared to other clean energy technologies, PAT technology has not found much literature in academic
published researches, thus contributing to its limited understanding within the community. Therefore, the PAT
literature availability is one way to level up its understanding, which can be helpful to academic and professional
communities. In the present study, a state-of-the-art review on the two most challenging PAT aspects, namely
PAT performance prediction and PAT ow stability aspects are presented. In the presented literature, the
selected energy sources history leading to the actual MHP global adoption was rst briey explained, followed
by an intensive literature on PAT operations, where details about PAT selection and performance prediction
were provided. Finally, the PAT ow stability aspects where pump-turbine S-shape and Saddle-type
characteristics constitute the main focus, were discussed. It is worth an attention to mention that the words
pump-turbine, Pump as turbine, and reversible pump turbine; are equally used throughout the whole
literature. It is within the authors wish that this paper can scale up the reader's PAT technology understanding,
thus serving awareness in the same.

1. Introduction augmentation of the yearly total world electricity generation in the

period 19732008, which increased from 6116 TW h/year to
Energy is unarguably the key factor for today's economic and social 20181 TW h/year [4].
development within nations. The provision of reliable, secure and Despite this demonstrable increase in world electrical energy
aordable energy services is central to addressing many of today's production, there is still shortage of electricity supply and other forms
global development challenges [1]. Electricity as one of many energy of modern energy in most of the developing countries [5]. According to
forms is a critical input to developing countries in the struggle to the the International Energy Agency, 1.4 billion people worldwide have no
national self-satisfaction in all domains. Being a secondary source of access to electricity [6], Sub-Sahara African region being the worst hit,
energy, electricity can be obtained through the conversion of primary yet the region is endowed with several resources from which modern
sources of energy, such as fossil fuels, nuclear energy or green energy forms of energy can be generated, for example hydropower [7].
[2]. From the early age, mankind require electrical energy to full their Fossil fuels have been the main electrical energy sources for the
needs such as lighting their houses, running industrial processes, past years (67%). However, owing to their fast rate depletion and the
heating and cooling for comfort, communication and numerous others environmental pollutions they produced, many utilities have switched
[3]. However, both the demographic growth and the socio-economic their generation sources to renewable energy sources [8]. Moreover,
development that took place during the last century have led to a the increase in oil prices and subsequent worldwide energy crisis in
continuous increase in electricity demand. These two events caused an 1973 prompted many countries to search and develop renewable

Corresponding authors.
E-mail addresses: (W.-T. Su), (F.-C. Li).
Received 25 April 2016; Received in revised form 22 February 2017; Accepted 27 April 2017
1364-0321/ 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
M. Binama et al. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 79 (2017) 148179

sources of energy [9,10].

Many researchers and eld players have shown their worries about
the extensive use of conventional energy resources at the time. For
instance, Akella [11] has demonstrated the undeniable contribution of
conventional energy sources such as oil, coal and natural gases, to the
economic development, but also showcased their serious environmen-
tal impacts. The use of renewable energy was also discussed.
Thereafter, the results conrmed that after the installation of renew-
able energy system in remote areas, the total emission reduction in
dierent years had been exponentially increasing [10].
Nevertheless, as far as electricity is concerned, hydropower is the
most important renewable contribution to the primary energy supply
mix. It represents more than 92% of all worldwide renewable energy
generated, and it continues to stand as the most important renewable
energy source [12].
Hydropower is a renewable energy source based on the natural Fig. 1. Cost distribution for large and micro hydropower plants.
water cycle, and actually the most mature, reliable and cost-eective
renewable power generation technology available [13]. It contributes to The cost of electro-mechanical components in large hydro-power
around 16% of the World electricity supply generated from about plants is around 20% but in MHPs it is relatively high and varies from
20,053 TW h of installed capacity [14]. In many countries it is the main 35% to 40% of the total project cost which may rise even up to 60% or
source of power generation e.g. Norway 99%, Brazil 86%, 70% of the total project cost in some typical cases [24] (See Fig. 1).
Switzerland 76% and Sweden 50% [8]. Hydropower is the most Other details about large and small scale HP plants have been
exible source of power generation available and is capable of presented through [25]. Therefore, a better solution to this issue would
responding to demand uctuations in minutes, delivering base-load be nding cheaper electro-mechanical equipment but considering three
power and, when a reservoir is present, storing electricity over weeks, fundamental conditions, viz. simplicity, eciency, and reliability.
months, seasons or even years [6,13]. One way to reduce the equipment cost has been the use of a
While large hydropower plants feed the national grid, typical o- standard pump unit as an alternative to a conventional turbine [26
grid micro hydropower plant (MHP) is the most popular solution for 29]. Pumps are mass-produced, and as a result, have dierent
electrication among rural communities, supplying the power in the advantages for MHP compared to purpose-made turbines, viz. avail-
range of 5100 kW, usually using a run-of-the-river to divert some of ability in large number of standard sizes for a wide range of heads and
the water from the river before dropping into a pressurized penstock ows [2628], short delivery time [2832], long life span [2933] and
[15]. Note that there is no worldwide consensus classifying hydropower easy installation and availability of spare parts such as seals and
into specic categories [5,16,17]. However, in accordance with indivi- bearings [2628]. Islam et al. [34] discussed the possibility of setting
dual countries administrative purposes [5,18], hydropower plants have up a micro hydro scheme in hilly areas of Bangladesh ranging from 300
been classied in terms of head or installed capacity, with dierent to 500 m which was actually a viable proof for setting up pump turbine
upper and lower limits for each category. Table 1 shows one of used systems in Bangladesh.
classications as found in the literature. However, the rst pump turbine had been set at a remote farm in
The main components that comprise typical MHP schemes are the Yorkshire Dales of the North England in 1930. This scheme has
electromechanical equipment, civil structures, and energy distribution been working for a ve year testing time, after which its reliability was
systems [19], the turbine being one of the critical technological conrmed before being transferred to other countries [26]. From then
components of the MHP project [5]. Small and micro hydropower on, pump turbine has become a hot topic amongst researchers and eld
installations have, historically, been cheap to run but expensive to engineers, where indeed, it has been used at so many sites, mainly for
build. This is now changing, with smaller, lighter and more ecient electricity provision in remote hilly regions away from central grid
higher-speed turbine equipment [20]. reach (Table 2). Dierent researchers; Williams [26], Orchard and
Among the dierent elements of the plant, the turbine is at the Sander [35], Ramos and Borga [36], Derakhshan and Ahmad [37], and
earth of the energy production; it's the same for the electric generators. Arriaga [38] among others, have provided information about the
For these crucial elements which are directly connected to the positive applications and advantages of a pump working as a turbine, mainly
column of the nancial balance of the plant, it's very important to basing their arguments on its two most important features: cost-
search the highest eciency without weighed down the budget [23]. So eectiveness and simplicity.
the game has to be played on both legs but sometimes including case- Adding on the third one, smallness, which is also true in a way;
sensitive priorities. The mostly met problem in micro turbines is their PAT's simple structural design would reect its easily understandable
higher price compared to full scale ones with respect to the whole operations. However, owing to the philosophy behind the pump's
project budget, owing to their expensive manufacturing price. For
instance, it's very dicult, time-consuming, and costly to develop such Table 2
site-specic turbines in accordance with the local ecology [18]. PAT installations.

Location Capacity of plant Year of installation

Table 1 Sainyabuli Province, Laos [38] 2 kW 2008

Hydropower scheme classification. Thima Kenya [39] 2.2 kW 2001
Mae Wei village, Thailand [40] 3 kW 2008
Hydro scheme Capacity (Haidar et al. [21]) Capacity (Williams [22]) West Java, Indonesia [41] 4.5 kW 1992
Kinko village, Tanzania [42] 10 kW 2006
Large More than 100 MW More than 100 MW Fazenda Boa Esperanca, Brazil [43] 45 kW 2007
Small Up to 25 MW 110 MW Ambotia Micro-hydro project, India 50 kW 2004
Mini Below 1 MW 100 kW to 1 MW [44]
Micro 6100 kW 5100 kW British Columbia, Canada [45] 200 kW
Pico Up to 5 kW Up to 5 kW Vysni Lhoty, Czech Republic [46] 332 kW 2008

M. Binama et al. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 79 (2017) 148179

functioning dierence between conventional and reverse modes, pump

turbines ow dynamics and operational characteristics have not been
fully understood, thus requiring more research eorts in the same. As a
matter of fact, many researchers have tried dierent PAT eciency
prediction methods but in vain, as the predicted results never got
validated through experimentation, with errors of the order of 20%
[47], and couldnt cover a wide range of pump operating conditions in
reverse mode.
Moreover, the ow stability characteristics within these machines is
still an unresolved problem, so long as the so called hump and s-
shape characteristics for pump and turbine mode operating conditions
respectively, have not yet found a long-lasting solution in large size
pump turbines, most likely in pumped storage hydropower plants. Note
that the two stated abnormalities are accompanied by high pressure
uctuations in the machine ow areas, resulting in numerous detri-
mental phenomena occurrence such as noise, vibration, and subse-
quent performance degradation.
Though the reasons for these failures are somewhat controversial,
Singh [44] through his theory Small is beautiful but not simple,
emphasized that one of the foremost causes is that these technologies
are considered easy and simple which do not need competence of
schooled engineers, scientists or policy makers. He also added that one
of the easily confused things is equating small to simple, as it
mostly results in a backre. On the other hand, according to Gong et al.
[48], the s-shape characteristics is a natural phenomenon, that cannot
be completely eliminated, but can be reduced or controlled through
dierent modications be it design or operation-related.
Taking from these grounds, the present paper, through a deep
literature survey, seeks to serve as awareness about the mostly met
techno-scientic problems in pump turbines daily operations, where
the PAT selection and performance prediction, as well as the pump
turbine ow stability aspects constitute the backbone to the presented
literature. This is done in the sense of scaling up the knowledge and
know-how in the same eld, possibly leading to more future resolu- Fig. 2. Head-ow charts for hydro turbines.
tional inspirations within the academic and professional communities.
made turbines, the main drawback in its usage is generally the diculty
2. Pump-turbine selection and performance prediction of nding the turbine characteristics that are needed to select the
correct pump for a particular site [26]. The adequate selection of the
2.1. Pump-turbine selection PAT has been a big challenge in the past decades, where dierent
aspects need a close attention, viz. available head range, capacity range,
Typical micro hydropower plants convert the falling water-con- back pressure at the turbine outlet, desired speed, etc. [18,50]. For the
tained energy to mechanical energy by turning the pump turbine, PAT based MHP cost eectiveness goal to be achieved, an optimum
which converts the water pressure into mechanical shaft power to drive operational design, smart selection of the equipment and reduced
an electric generator. The power available is proportional to the professional consultation must be implemented to lower the overall
product of head and volume ow rate as the general formula for cost [5153]. Nevertheless, for the optimum PAT selection at a
hydropower systems shows [49]: particular site, there is a fundamental need of basic information about
the head and discharge available at the site, but most importantly, the
P = gQH (1) expected PAT performance characteristics, which in fact, are two key-
where P is power output, hydraulic eciency, uid density, g factors to the PAT selection validity. However, the lack of PAT
gravitational acceleration, Q volumetric owrate and H water head. performance data is always stated as one of the signicant challenges
As shown in Eq. (1), the turbine selection process for a MHP of in the design of PAT for MHP sites [54]. Dierent researchers; Orchard
interest, should be based on the head and owrate available at the site. and Sander [35], Franc et al. [55], Chapallaz et al. [56], Fraenkel et al.
The power output may also be related to the head to express the turbine [57] and Paish [49] among others, have so far provided head-ow
specic speed. charts depicting the range of application for dierent PATs (Fig. 2a). It
was generally concluded that multistage radial ow PATs t sites with
nP1/2 high heads-low ow rates, whereas axial ow ones perform well at low
NS =
H 5/4 (2)
head-high ow rates sites. However, the use of single stage end suction
where Ns is the turbine specic speed and n is the real rotation speed of centrifugal PATs from low to medium heads, has also been recom-
turbine. This parameter characterizes the turbine runner, spiral casing, mended by many of researchers [37,50,5864]. PAT selection can also
blade shape and other geometric design features, thus doesnt depend be carried out through a head-specic speed chart. Avellan [65] has
on the size but the shape of the machine of concern [18]. For instance presented a head-specic speed chart for Francis-type reversible pump
two machines of similar shape and dierent size may have same turbines, where the PAT geometric design plays the key role in the
specic speed. classication process. PATs with narrow impeller channels at the
One of the biggest diculties in micro hydropower technology is to runner inlet are characterized by high heads-low specic speeds, while
adapt the equipment to the specicity of the plant [23]. For instance, as PATs with wider impeller channels at the runner inlet are characterized
much the PAT can be having many advantages compared to purpose- by low heads-high specic speeds (Fig. 2b).

M. Binama et al. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 79 (2017) 148179

Fig. 3. Turbine selection ow chart for micro hydropower schemes [5].

Kaunda et al. [5] has presented the systematic process of selecting 2.2. Pump-turbine performance prediction
the optimum turbine according to the site conditions, where both the
importance of head-volumetric owrate chart and the turbine specic PAT is an economical alternative for small and micro-hydro
speed were recognized (Fig. 3), and dierent factors which can assist in schemes in remote areas. A pump in reverse can generally handle
pump selection decision making, viz. investment cost of the turbine, comparatively higher ow rates, which in turn may implicate higher
turbine design complexity, unit power generation cost, and the turbine output energy ranges [73]. However, due to the fact that the pump
performance, were discussed as well. manufacturers do not oer performance curves of their pumps in
The eld applications of multistage, single impeller centrifugal and turbine mode; the selection of a suitable pump turbine to run under
axial ow pumps can be compared with Pelton, Francis and Kaplan site-specic operation conditions has become a big challenge [18]. A
turbines respectively [66]. According to Lueneburg and Nelson [50] large number of theoretical and experimental studies have been done
and Sharma [67], all centrifugal pumps from low to high specic speed, for performance prediction of reverse running centrifugal pumps [59].
single or multistage, radially or axially split, horizontal or vertical The pump mode-based prediction technic is the easiest way as it
installations, in-line and double suction can be used in reverse mode. only requires the user to have access to the pump performance basic
However, depending on their operational principles or structural information such as the ow rate QP , head HP and the eciency P ,
design, some pumps cannot be reversed, thus being unt for energy which in turn makes it easy to nd correspondent turbine mode
generation applications. For instance, self-priming and wet-motor performance parameters through simple calculations. Therefore, the-
submersible bore hole pumps cannot be reversed because of the oretical researches were mainly based on pump mode performance
presence of a non-return valve. Dry-motor submersible pumps also parameters where the head and ow correction factors play a key role
cannot be used mainly because of their over-heating issue. in PAT performance prediction.
The main weaknesses of simple PATs are generally the inability to Many researchers, e.g., Stepano [74], Childs [75], Sharma [76],
control the ow as they are not provided with ow control facilities among others, have developed PAT performance prediction relations
(guide vanes), and the poor performance at o-design operating based on pump best eciency point (BEP) whereas others such as
conditions, viz. part and over ow conditions. Therefore, they only Gopalakrishnan [77], Diederich [78], and Grover [79] have developed
can work eciently at a short range of discharges close to the full load their relations basing on the pump specic speed. However, theoretical
(80100%). prediction methods have not provided a completely reliable solution to
However, MHPs are often required to work at o design conditions, the problem as their results were way erroneous as compared to eld
mainly from seasonal ow variations. In this case, the site ow rate can test results. Therefore they may only be used to get a rough picture of
pass or go below the maximum plant capacity in rainy or dry seasons the required PAT characteristics, which need validation adjustment by
respectively. To take care of this issue, the site ow should be recorded experimental methods. Selected PAT performance studies and their
on the whole year, so that PAT selection can be performed based on the respective ndings have been chronologically presented by Jain et al.
lowest annual ow record. Another alternative would be running many [18] as shown in Table 3.
PATs in parallel to take care of the o design ow conditions. This To some authors, e.g., Fraser [70], Garay [80], and Sharma [76]
method would be more protable as PATs can be switched on and o among others, pump mode-based prediction methods are reliable, but
depending on the site available ow [68], however, needing more may need some corrections in particular cases. To some others, e.g.,
attention so that the MHP cost-eectiveness goal remains uncompro- Burton and Muluget [81], Hanif [82], and Ventrone and Navarro [83]
mised. In this respect, dierent researchers, such as Singh [44], to mention about, these methods are solely unreliable, but recognize
Spangler [69], Fraser et al. [70], Nicholas [71], and Hochreutiner the pump geometry as the most fundamental parameter to base on PAT
[72], have come out with a range of number of PATs ranging from 3 to performance predictions, as pump manufacturers dont necessarily
7, which when operated in parallel would be more ecient than a provide universally standardized pumps. It is said that two pumps of
single conventional turbine of a comparable capacity. The last technic same BEP may sometimes have dierent performance in their turbine-
to be presented in this paper is the siphon intake method as mode operations.
presented by Williams [47]. This method is used in low ow cases, As a matter of fact, a comparatively small number of researchers
where the ow is accumulated and stored in a reservoir in order to have rather opted on using the pump geometrical design and other
release the full ow to the PAT intermittently, thus producing an hydraulic phenomena to end up with more accurate technics. However,
intermittent power. This method is not convenient to engineering due to their complexity, these methods were generally not preferred.
applications requiring continuous energy supply, but it can serve for Away from the researches which was carried out in the early age of PAT
dierent basic operations such as heating and battery charging. discovery, PAT has remained a hot research topic among professional
and academic communities. Barbarelli et al. [84], after discussing

M. Binama et al. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 79 (2017) 148179

Table 3
Performance prediction methods for pump-turbines.

Year Name of investigator Criteria Head correction (h) Discharge correction factor (q) Remarks

1957 Stepanoff [74] BEP 1 1 Accurate for Ns: 4060

p p

1962 Childs [75] BEP 1 1

p p
1963 Hanckock [93] BEP 1 1
t t
1980 Grover [79] Specific speed 2.693 0.0229Nst 2. 379 0. 0264Nst Applied for Ns: 1050
1982 Lewinsky-Kesslitz [94] Specific speed 1. 3
1. 3
Nst 3 Nst 5
1985 Sharma [76] BEP 1 1 Accurate for Ns: 4060
p p0.8

1988 Schmiedl [95] BEP 1. 4 +

1. 5 +
hp 2

1994 Alatorre-Frenk [68] BEP 1 0.85p5 +0.385

0.85p5 +0.385
2p9.5 +0.205

1998 Sharma [67] BEP Ng 2 1.1 Ng

1.1 f
Ng = 240 N
N 1.2 Nm 0.8 p
m p p

weaknesses as found in many published PAT performance predictions turbine mode performance of two pumps, a horizontal single suction
methods [66,73,85,86], came to a conclusion that the PAT performance centrifugal pump and a vertical multistage pump. The main idea was to
prediction model universality can only be achieved if, through direct expand the application of performance prediction models from hor-
PAT geometry identication without disassembly, the PAT perfor- izontal single stage pumps, which is the most used type by researchers,
mance curves could be developed. This however, requires the knowl- to other pump types. Performed experiments were by the way meant
edge of the machine ow passage areas as well as corresponding losses. for validation of the Performance prediction model as presented in
In the developed model, a 1D computational model was adopted for [37,66], as well as its application to vertical multistage pumps. The
both PAT performance curves establishment and losses calculations, validity of Derakhshan and Nourbakhsh method was conrmed only
where the developed code was implemented in a LabView environ- under certain ow conditions on the vertical multistage pump, where
ment. Taking from the pump manufacturer catalogue, a pump virtual more studies were nally recommended for remaining performance
geometrical design was computed, followed by ow losses calculations, prediction methods validity check, when applied on vertical single or
resulting in automatic performance curves obtention (Head and multistage pumps.
Eciency vs. Flow). After validation through comparison with other Frosina et al. [92] presented a CFD-based pump turbine perfor-
experimental test ndings, the model was found acceptably accurate mance prediction technic on three pumps of specic speed ranging
with errors ranging between 5% and 20%. Li [87], taking from the from 20.5 to 64. Flow Simulations were performed through a CFD
grounds that all recently used pump turbine performance prediction commercial code PumpLinx, where conventional and generating
methods were all based on water as the working uid, sought to operating modes results have been validated through manufacturer-
develop a new method where liquid viscosity eect was to be provided data and experimentation respectively. Moreover, several
considered. The ow through a single stage end-suction centrifugal theoretical models have been applied and compared to the developed
pump turbine operating at 1485 rpm was rst computationally studied computational model results, where some approximately agreed
at ve dierent viscosities (=1, 24, 48, 90 and 120 cSt), the results of (Stepano's method) others diverged (Childs method) from predicted
which are found in [88]. Basing on the obtained PAT performance results.
curves, the PAT performance conversion factors of Head, Power, and More intensive theoretical, experimental and computational studies
eciency under ve dierent ow conditions (Zero eciency, 0.8BEP, have so far been carried out on the PAT performance prediction, which
BEP, 1.2BEP, and Maximum ow) in generating mode, and of Head eventually resulted in a big literature about PAT performance predic-
and eciency in pumping mode, were extracted and correlated to the tion, as described in the following sections.
impeller Reynold number; where through the use of Power output and
Head curves 3rd and 4th order polynomials, a new PAT performance
prediction model was developed. The newly established model was 2.2.1. Theoretical studies
found acceptably accurate with errors as negligible as 1.67%, 2.57% Pump turbines are a cost-eective alternative for micro-hydro
and 6.76% for Head, Power output and eciency respectively. Deeper schemes at remote areas. Dierent researchers have continuously
research on the eect of Impeller Reynold number was recommended carried out theoretical, numerical, and experimental studies or some-
for future studies. Tan and Engenda [89], considering the fact that times a combination of some of these methods, to come out with a
among all published Pump turbine performance prediction methods, universal PAT performance prediction method. A considerable number
the ones basing their calculations on the pump's geometrical data of published theoretical methods were based either on pump mode
[86,90] presented comparatively smaller errors than the ones based on performance parameters or pump geometric design. This subsection
the machine's BEP and Specic speed; but also keeping in mind that comprises pure theoretical researches and their combination with other
pump manufacturers dont necessarily provide geometrical data to methods.
third parties for the sake of their product's quality protection; opted at Nourbakhsh and Derakhshan [96] carried out an investigation on
experimentally developing a new prediction model making use of the PAT performance in small hydros by theoretical and experimental
pump specic diameter and specic speed. The pump specic diameter methods. Dierent existing empirical PAT performance prediction
is a geometrical design parameter and it can be easily disclosed by methods were compared, to nally come out with a favorable choice
pump manufacturers. The proposed model exhibited acceptably good which can be used in general cases. From experimental results as
accuracy compared to nine others as found in the paper's literature. performed on a complete laboratory model of a mini hydropower plant
Pugliese et al. [91] carried out an experimental study to assess the built in Tehran University, it was found that, the discharge, head and
eciency were higher in turbine than pump mode; the turbine power

M. Binama et al. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 79 (2017) 148179

output was higher than pump input power, and nally, the slight
impeller modication could result in a considerable eciency increase,
where the pump with higher specic speed was surely expected to
exhibit higher turbine mode eciency. However, no universally reliable
PAT performance prediction formula or theoretical method was found.
Nourbakhsh and Derakhshan [97] have also developed a theoretical
PAT performance prediction method, where pump mode geometrical
and hydraulic characteristics were rst dened, followed by pump
mode-based PAT's BEP and hydraulic characteristics prediction meth-
od development. The newly obtained correlation formulas were then
applied to the Worthington-Simpson 25WB125 pump used as an
example, and the new calculation method together with ve other
prediction methods results were compared to experimental ndings.
This method appeared to have comparatively little errors and it gives
better BEP prediction results.
Hossain et al. [98] carried out a comparative study between two
mostly used theoretical PAT performance prediction methods
(Chapallaz et al. [56] and Sharma [76] methods) to get an idea which
is better than the others. Pump hydraulic characteristics were rst
found through an experiment session on a 4 hp DC powered motor
pump at a 2900 rpm rotational speed. The experimental results were
used to get PAT performance characteristics, power, and output
electrical energy, through the two above mentioned methods. The
study, through a comparative scheme, concluded that Sharma method
could only predict the PAT BEP and power whereas Chapallaz et al.
method gave a wide range of operating points from minimum to
maximum deviation, thus providing the access to the information
about PAT operation at and away from BEP. Chapallaz et al. method
was found to provide more clear understanding of the PAT perfor-
mance characteristics.
Derakhshan et al. [37] have compared three PAT performance
prediction methods, viz. Area ratio a theoretical method developed by
Gantar [99] and Anderson [100], numerical, and experimental meth-
ods. Theoretical and numerical prediction results were compared to
experimental ones to get an idea which one predicts well the PAT
performance characteristics (at BEP). The pump two operational
modes (direct and reverse modes) numerical simulation was performed Fig. 4. Comparison between Pump (a) and PAT (b) experimental and numerical results.
through FineTurbo V.7 ow solver, where 3D full Navier-Stokes
equations were solved; the results of which, helped on the pump Table 4
complete characteristics curve construction for both modes. An experi- BEP predictions by various methods.
mental test-rig was constructed as in [66], and experimental results
Experimental Numerical Theoretical Sharma Stepanoff
were compared to both theoretical and numerical predictions.
Theoretical method's predicted values were found slightly lower than h 1.89 2.00 1.99 1.74 1.58
experimental data with 1.1%, 4.7%, 5.25%, and 2.1% deviation for q 1.66 1.70 1.55 1.45 1.26
discharge (), Head (), Power (), and eciency () numbers Error h (%) +5.3 +5.3 7.9 16.4
Error q (%) 2.4 6.6 12.7 24.1
respectively. CFD results were in good agreement with experimental
results in pump mode, but much lower in turbine mode.
Yang et al. [85] carried out a PAT performance prediction study in prediction methods on 35 pumps with specic speeds ranging from
which three methods, viz. theoretical, numerical, and experimental 12.7 to 183.3, where the main research focus was the impact of
methods, were used. A pump mode-based theoretical prediction performance prediction methods errors (deviation between predicted
method was developed, the results of which got compared with other and actual BEP values) on PAT operations. Every method's credibility
theoretical, numerical and experimental methods. Numerical simula- was evaluated through a British standard-based prediction coecient
tions on both modes (reverse and direct operating modes) were C, for which acceptable errors were supposed to be equal or inferior to
performed by ANSYS-CFX which is a commercial 3D Navier-stokes a unity.
CFD software. The selected turbulence model was k-, where the ow
domain was subdivided into four parts, viz. inlet pipe, volute, impeller, a 2 b 2
C2 = +
front and back chambers to facilitate the gridding process by ANSYS 0.3 0.1 (3)
ICEM. Comparing experimental results as tested by a Jiangsu
1 1
University-based test rig, with numerical, theoretical and other pre- with a = 2
+ h ) and b =
(q (q 2 + h2 2hq ) .
diction methods results; CFD results were found in good agreement The C value was calculated from an H-Q curve, for which the center
with its two modes experimental data, whereas a slight dierence coincided with the manufacturer-provided BEP. It was found that none
between experimental and numerical results was noticed. The theore- of all evaluated methods was reliable; however, Sharma method
tical and CFD methods were more accurate than the other two methods presented better performance than others, thus being the most
(Sharma [76] and Stepano [74] methods), as shown in Fig. 4 and recommended method. It was also suggested that theoretical prediction
Table 4. methods should be accompanied with experimental ones for their
Williams [61] carried out a comparative study of eight dierent validity conrmation during PAT installation.

M. Binama et al. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 79 (2017) 148179

Fernandez et al. [58] has, by applying experiments-derived pump Brothers Limited (KBL) mixed ow pumps, namely pump A and B,
hydraulic characteristics in both modes, modied the Euler's head having dierent specic speeds, were tested on a Maulana Azad
equation to nally come up with a newly developed PAT performance National Institute of Technology-based test rig, at dierent rotational
prediction equation. It had been noticed that all PAT performance speeds, ow rates and heads. The experimental results were then
prediction methods were either, based on pump BEP characteristics compared to Chapallaz et al. [56] theoretical method ones, where
similarity between both modes, or algebraic relations as a function of dierent conclusions were drawn. It was found that, as usual, the heads
eciency; where most importantly, the rotational speed was consid- and ows for turbine mode are always higher than in direct mode.
ered equal in both modes; which in fact was opposed in this study by However the eciency could be less or more irrespective of the pump
considering dierent rotational speeds in both modes. specic speed.
Carravetta et al. [101] proposed the turbomachinery anity laws Daniela et al. [31] studied the PAT characteristics to get an idea of
modication scheme to eliminate the big discrepancy between PAT the PAT benets as compared to normal turbines. The experimental
performance theoretical and experimental prediction methods. In data were collected from a medium size river-based plant which
order to obtain the PAT BEP characteristics at a speed N recently got upgraded from normal turbine to PAT-based site. The
(N NMAX ), the usual turbomachinery anity laws were transformed measured PAT parameters were then used, through basic turboma-
to functions of the ratio ( N / NMAX ) as follows: chines calculations, to get the complete PAT performance curves. It was
found that PAT worked at higher ow rates and heads, whereas the
q= = f1 MAX eciencies were almost the same for both operating modes. PAT was
QBMAX N found to work in turbine mode without any mechanical complications.
HB N Suarda et al. [104] presented an experimentally comparative
h = MAX = f2 MAX
HB N research between two small pumps in their turbine operational modes,
PB N one of volute, another of diuser type. Experimental ndings showed
p = MAX = f3 MAX the volute type performance more attractive than the diuser type.
Derakhshan and Kasaeian [105] used experimental means to validate
= = f4 MAX the numerically obtained propeller PAT performance study results.
BMAX N (4) Moreover, the thereafter performed runner blades geometry optimiza-
tion resulted in the eciency improvement of about 14%, with a
Functions f1 , f2 , f3 and f4 were obtained from experimental results
comparatively better cavitation performance. The propeller pump was
on several submersible pumps operated at dierent speeds. Using
found to satisfactorily work as a low-head turbine.
Suter parameters in conjunction with the obtained modied anity
Singh et al. [106] studied the eect of casing eye ribs on the pump
laws, the decrease of scatter between the calculated and measured
turbine hydraulics and performance characteristics. Two pump models,
values was achieved.
casing rib absent (CRA) and casing rib present (CRP), were both
Ramos and Borga [36] carried out a Suter parameters-based steady
numerically and experimentally studied; where commercially available
and transient ow regimes study aiming at proving the pump physical,
software, CFX, for which the K- turbulence model was selected, was
economical and technical reliability not only in industrial processes but
used for simulations. The PAT ow experimental and numerical
also in power generation sector. It was conrmed that using PATs is a
analysis was comparatively carried out for two operating modes, CRA
good alternative to dissipation of excess ow energy that, normally
and CRP, at six operating points, namely, A (51% QBEP), B (70% QBEP),
would be lost. The study outcomes also showed that, depending on
C (88% QBEP), D (100% QBEP), and E (116% QBEP), constituting the
runner characteristics, PATs eciency can attain 80%. Induced motors
part, full, and over loads. The study results from both methods showed
were recommended for large electric grids, and synchronous motors for
that CRA had higher eciency and greater performance for the part-
isolated operations. For whatever case, PAT was globally found to be
load and overload operations as compared to CRP. A satisfactory
the best economic solution.
similitude was noticed between experimental and numerical results,
Singh et al. [42] carried out a PAT performance prediction study at
where the PAT exhibited good performance with 82% as the highest
a 10 kW MHP site in Kinko, Tanzania; where the theoretically found
attained eciency.
results were compared to eld performance characteristics. Deviation
Nautiyal et al. [59] carried out an experimental study on PAT
between the two methods outputs were noticed, where on-site char-
performance characteristics in the hope to come out with a more
acteristics at full load were slightly scattered from predicted ones with
accurate prediction method. The test results on a pump of 18 (m, m3/s)
4%, 2%, and 3% deviations for discharge, head, and electric power
as specic speed, running at 1500 rpm, conrmed that, as it had been
output respectively.
demonstrated by many other researchers, the centrifugal pump can
surely be used as turbine under various operating conditions, where the
2.2.2. Experimental studies turbine operating mode is always characterized by higher ow rates
Raman et al. [102] carried out an experimental study aiming at a and heads but with comparatively lower eciencies. Together with four
better understanding of PAT characteristics. A centrifugal pump with other pump models from dierent researchers, the tested pump was
15.36, 22 m, and 8.31 l/s as specic speed, head, and ow rate farther analyzed to come up with a new prediction method based on
respectively, was tested in a test rig as installed in the Mechanical both pump eciency and specic speed. Compared to other prediction
Engineering Laboratory of the Universiti Tenaga Nasional. The pump methods, the developed method presented better performance, with
selection process was performed following a reconnaissance technic as comparatively reduced errors (as compared to test results) as shown in
presented by Raman and Hussein [103]; thereafter, the experimental Fig. 5, thus making it the best.
results were compared to other previously published researches. The Derakhshan and Nourbakhsh [66], based on experimental results
experiment ndings were approximately similar to other methods; as performed on a mini-hydropower test rig at the University of
although, the specic speed and eciency values were slightly lower. Tehran, has developed new correlation equations for PAT BEP predic-
The pump operation in turbine mode was found to require high heads tion. Four centrifugal pumps in specic speeds range from 14.6 to 55.6
and ows compared to the direct mode. It was conrmed that a (m, m3/s) were tested, where centrifugal pumps were again found to t
centrifugal pump can satisfactorily be operated as turbine without any the turbine operating conditions with comparatively higher heads and
mechanical problems. ows and approximately equal eciencies. The newly developed
Prasad et al. [24] carried out an experimental research to assess the specic speed-based prediction method was compared to many others,
PAT performance and cavitation characteristics. Two Kirloskar to only nd it exhibited better and acceptable estimates of ow rate and

M. Binama et al. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 79 (2017) 148179

Q1 n
= 1
Q2 n2
H1 n1
H2 n2
P1 n1
P2 n2 (5)

where the subscripts 1 and 2 stand for rst and next operating
conditions in terms of speed. Experiments were carried out on a
Jiangsu University based-test rig at dierent rotational speeds, viz.
1000 rpm, 1200 rpm, 1500 rpm, and 1800 rpm. And nally, the PAT
model was numerically analyzed. The numerical study was performed
by a CFD commercial code Ansys CFX, where the k- turbulence model
was adopted, and static pressure inlet and mass ow rate outlet were
selected as inlet and outlet boundary conditions respectively. Test,
numerical, and theoretical results were in a quite acceptable agree-
ment. However numerically predicted eciency, head, shaft power
values tended to be slightly higher than test ones by 4.85%, 2.31%,
5.39% respectively. Nevertheless, theoretical results were higher than
the two rst, where wider deviation was found in Shaft power
predictions. The developed theoretical method was found reliable but
needing some perfections to get even better results.

2.2.3. Numerical studies

Many researchers have shown that CFD analysis is a reliable tool to
predict the behavior of a pump machine operating as a turbine and to
estimate the performance curves of the turbomachinery [109]. With
CFD, complex uid ow behaviors inside the PAT can be virtually
previewed, which can substantially reduce both the design time and
Fig. 5. Comparison of errors for discharge (a) and Head (b) ratio from experiment and cost. A big number of studies have been carried out aiming at PAT ow
various methods. characteristics understanding and performance prediction.
Ismail et al. [110] tested an end suction centrifugal pump by means
of CFD simulations to determine its performance characteristics in
both direct and reverse modes. The CFD modelling and simulations
head for pumps with specic speeds higher than 60 (m, m3/s). It was were performed by Ansys CFX14.0, where the K- was selected for ow
also demonstrated that between two pumps with same specic speed, turbulence modelling in a pump of 70 units (Euroo EU50-20) as
the one with bigger impeller diameter has higher eciency. Also the specic speed and working at a rotational speed of 1450 rpm. The
higher the ow and head they exhibit, the more ecient they become. A computational domain was divided into three parts, viz. volute,
better PAT selection procedure for a specic site was also proposed. impeller and draft tube; where inlet and outlet boundary conditions
Singh and Franz [107] developed a new consolidated model from were set to mass ow rate inlet and static pressure out respectively.
experimental results on many pumps of dierent shapes (2080 rpm), However, the reverse mode simulations had to be run at 1550 rpm in
mainly targeting its parsimony on PAT performance prediction, selec- accordance with the used induction generator's speed. The ow
tion, and evaluation, which are its three main segments; in order to nd simulations were then run at ows varying from 0.7 to 1.3 QBEP.
a lasting solution for PATs modelling and establish a new basis of After comparing both modes CFD predicted results to pump manu-
evaluating uncertainties, based on fundamental theory of turboma- facture-provided ones, it was observed that BEP was attained at higher
chines. The prediction segment required the pump shape and size to ows and heads in turbine than pump mode. However eciency was
come out with complete PAT performance characteristics. The selection found higher in pump mode (72.63% against 71.62%). Numerical
segment required only the site head and ow data to determine the simulation method was conrmed viable for PAT performance predic-
suitable pumps for specic sites. And nally, the evaluation segment tion.
compared the selected pumps and their characteristics to decide the Fernandez et al. [111] presented a 3D ow simulation study on a
most suitable PAT for specic operating conditions. The developed pump as turbine aiming at validating the experimental results as
consolidated model, from obtained test results and related analysis, previously presented in [58], using the sliding mesh technique to
through many modelling acrobatics, contributed to the economic capture the interactions between the impeller and the volute tongue.
feature, needing a small number of parameters to give the complete The PAT ow numerical simulation was performed through a CFD
and accurate PAT predictions. commercial code Fluent at a rotational speed of 1750 rpm under ve
Yang et al. [108] studied the inuence of rotational speed to the dierent ow regimes viz 50, 65, 80, 100, and 120 m3/h. The pressure-
PAT performance. In this paper, a rotational speed-based theoretical velocity coupling was achieved by SIMPLE algorithm and Standard k-
PAT performance prediction method was rst developed where new model was selected for turbulence modelling. Numerical simulation
correlation equations for ow rate, head, and shaft power; were and experimental results showed a neat agreement, especially for head
developed as shown: and Power predictions (Fig. 6).
Pscoa et al. [112] carried out a numerical study on a centrifugal
pump to check the validity of three randomly selected theoretical

M. Binama et al. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 79 (2017) 148179

the numerical results accuracy.

Baburaj et al. [116] presented a literature about the usage of
computational methods for PAT ow studies, performance prediction
playing a core role. As an example, a computational study was carried
out on a single stage centrifugal pump at 2880 rpm. The CFD
commercial code Ansys CFX was used where total pressure and mass
ow rate were chosen for in and outlet boundary conditions, with the
mass ow rate continually varied to come up with a complete PAT
performance curve. The CFD usage for PAT ow studies was conrmed
Barrio et al. [117] presented a numerical study on a centrifugal
pump with twisted backwards curved blades in both direct and reverse
operating modes, aiming at the investigation of global ow character-
istics within the machine at dierent ow rates. A CFD commercial
code Ansys Fluent was used together with k- turbulence model to
Fig. 6. Performance characteristics for pump and reverse modes [111].
solve the full unsteady RANS equations, with total pressure in
variable static pressure out and constant total pressure in constant
correlation methods, viz. Stepano, Sharma, and Viana methods. In pressure out, as boundary conditions in pump and turbine mode
this study, through a CFD commercial code Ansys Fluent, the ow in a respectively. After comparison between numerical and experimental
NNJ125-250 pump was modelled, where Reynolds Averaged Navier results, an agreement between both was quite satisfactory with max-
Stokes (RANS) equations were solved through Spalart-Allmaras turbu- imum errors less than 4% (Fig. 8). However ow recirculation and
lence model. PISO algorithm was used for pressure-velocity coupling backow regions were noticed at o-design ow rates in the reverse
and stagnation pressure in and static pressure out were chosen for inlet operating mode.
and outlet boundary conditions respectively. Theoretical results were Jovanovi et al. [118] presented a comparative study between
compared to computational ones, where an acceptable agreement was numerical and experimental results on a centrifugal pump running in
nally noticed between both. A new approach for PAT power plant both reverse and direct modes. In this paper, dierent PAT usages and
design was also developed; where at each constant head, it was now performance prediction methods were discussed. From its dierent
possible and easy to know the most ecient PAT rotational speed. All advantages over other mostly used methods, namely theoretical and
computational results in this paper were achieved through a frozen experimental methods, CFD method was conrmed very eective for
rotor approach. PAT ow studies. An example computational case-study was run
Peter and Varchola [113] carried out a numerical study on two through Ansys CFX commercial code, together with K- turbulence
mixed ow pumps, one with mixed-ow diuser, and the other with an model for both modes, where extracted results were compared to
axial-ow diuser, in both direct and reverse modes; aiming at collected experimental ones. Dierent frequently met problems in
examining the optimal operational parameters in both modes through computational method usage were pointed out as well as their
a comparative scheme. A good agreement was noticed between respective way outs. There was a good agreement between test and
Computational and experimental results. numerical results with comparatively small errors (less than4%).
Nautiyal et al. [114] presented a review of some already published Milan et al. [119] simulated the ow in the middle stage of a radial-
works on PAT performance prediction through CFD. It was shown that ow multistage PAT to get the ow pattern information for eciency
CFD usage in the area of turbomachines has seen extensive growth in improvement through geometrical modications if by any means
recent decades. Generally manufacturers dont provide performance needed. CFD commercial code Ansys CFX was used to solve the fully
and ow characteristics of their pumps in turbine mode; so CFD has unsteady three dimensional RANS equations together with the shear
been a recent attempt for PAT performance prediction. It was men- stress transport (SST) turbulence model. The studied ow domain
tioned that CFD made it possible to identify losses in dierent parts of consisted of a six blades impeller with two dierent diameters (full and
PAT. However, there have been discrepancies between numerical and reduced) and an eight channels stator, where the selected boundary
experimental predictions mainly from geometry simplication in conditions were the ow rate and average static pressure for inlet and
computational studies, as reported in this paper. Nevertheless, it was outlet boundary conditions respectively, for the turbine operational
pointed out that, numerical predictions accuracy would also depend on mode. Six interfaces, three rotor-stator and three stator-rotor inter-
grid quality and numerical methods and used turbulence models. CFD faces, were used between rotor and stator, and the analysis was carried
was generally acknowledged as an eective design tool for PAT out at dierent rotational speeds and ow rates. The numerical results
performance prediction. were in good agreement with experimental ones with an error of about
Rawal and Kshirsagar [115] carried out a study through both 13% from the neglected loss estimations in the numerical study. Full
numerical and experimental methods on a mixed ow pump with the diameter impeller version showed a comparatively better performance,
objective of analyzing the accuracy of computational tools for PAT and it was found that the multistage pump doesnt need any modica-
studies. The PAT ow was rst numerically studied at ve dierent tion to become more ecient as it could get suciently higher
ows, viz. 60%, 80%, 100%, 120%, and 140% of the BEP ow at a eciencies, unmodied.
rotational speed of 1450 rpm. The k- turbulence model was adopted,
where the chosen inlet and outlet boundary conditions were total 2.3. Pump-turbine performance improvement attempts
pressure in and ow rate out, respectively. The experimental part was
run at a test facility based at a major University in Karlsruhe, German Many more researches have been recently curried out aiming at
(Fig. 7). The single stage mixed ow pump with four mixed ow vanes performance improvement through geometry modications and opti-
was tested at three dierent speeds, viz. 800 rpm, 900 rpm, and mization technics, Miao et al. [120] presented a pump turbine blade
1000 rpm, under ows ranging from no load to maximum load. The prole optimization model, where dierent methods were applied viz
agreement between computational and test results has been satisfac- blade prole parametrization, Latin Hypercube experimental design,
tory. The numerical approach served in the identication of losses in computational uid dynamics techniques, back propagation neural
PAT's dierent parts, and it was suggested that the use of ner mesh, network, and genetic algorithm. The model results exhibited quite good
better numerical methods and turbulence models, could improve on performance, where the eciency was increased by 2.9% under

M. Binama et al. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 79 (2017) 148179

Fig. 7. Karlsruhe University-based testing facility [96].

after impeller modication. Dierent modications were made, viz.

impeller edges rounding, hub and shroud extremities rounding, and
material removal at the impeller exit areas; after which, the modied
model was tested at a constant speed of 1100 rpm under continually
varied loads. After comparing the modied against unmodied model
performances, it was reported that the modied model exhibited
comparatively higher eciency, where the BEP head and power were
attained at lower ow rates. It was then demonstrated that the rounded
edges impeller would make a more ecient PAT.
Yang et al. [125] carried out a study on the inuence of impeller
blade thickness on PAT performance. Three impellers with dierent
design parameters (Table 5) were experimentally and numerically
Fig. 8. Flow-Head characteristics in pump and reverse mode [117]. analyzed, and through a comparative scheme, their performance
characteristics were discussed.
optimum operating conditions. Given the complexity in terms of design Due to its robustness and fast convergence, the CFD commercial
and operational mechanism of a counter-rotating pump turbine, Kim code Ansys CFX, was chosen to solve steady state Navier-Stokes
et al. [121], in an attempt to improve the machine eciency, developed equations together with standard k- turbulence model. The selected
a design technic where the Design of Experiments (DOE) method was inlet and outlet boundary conditions were static pressure in and mass
combined with a numerical simulation scheme. The presented model ow out respectively, with continuously changed ow to come up with
contributed a considerable improvement to the system performance. the complete PAT performance curve. Ansys ICEM was used for ow
Qian et al. [122] rearmed that, despite their comparatively low domain grid generation. The PAT experimental tests were run at a
eciency, pump-turbines presents dierent advantages over conven- Jiangsu University based test rig, the results of which got compared to
tional turbines. Their inability to control the ow, making it practically numerical ones. Both methods predictions were in an acceptably good
impossible to work eciently over a large range of ows, gures among agreement. It was found that both pressure head and shaft power
their rst operational shortcomings. In an attempt to x the problem, increased, whereas the eciency decreased with the blade thickness
numerical and experimental analysis were carried out on the perfor- increase (Fig. 9), therefore a small blade-thickness possible was
mance of an axial ow pump turbine in which the adjustable guide vane recommended as long as its strength is not compromised.
(AGV) system was incorporated, under both conventional and generat- Giosio et al. [126] presented an experimental study aiming at
ing modes. The AGV usage provided great performance, where the improving the PAT operating conditions by ow regulation facility
machine could work eciently over a wider range of ows, thus incorporation thus eliminating a widely known PAT problem of
increasing the machine exibility Vis a Vis the continuously changing inexibility towards ow regime uctuations. A suitable pump was
hydrological conditions at remote hydro sites. Doshi et al. [123] rst selected using Sharma method and got installed inside the
investigated the eect of edge rounding at critical locations such as customized housing provided with ow regulation facility, and guide
the impeller's blade, inner shroud, and outer shroud; on the machine's vane assembly consisting of 13 hydrofoil shaped vanes; at a micro-
performance. The performed geometrical modication was found hydro test rig based at the University of Tasmania. For the construction
benecial as it contributed to the eciency increase between 1% and of the PAT eciency hill chart, the steady state ow test was performed
2.5%. However, a large suction wake development was noticed, at dierent guide vane openings ranging from 20 to 35 corresponding
resulting from interaction between the stationary volute and the used
backward blade impeller, which was not fully resolved by the edge
Table 5
rounding action. For future solution attempts, the gradual change of Design parameters of the PAT.
blade angle was recommended targeting a comparatively reduced
wake. Q/ m3 h1 H/m n/r min1 ns
Patel et al. [124] experimentally studied the eect of impeller
100 40 1500 57
modication on PAT performance. The main objective was to compare 120 43 3000 119
the PAT eciency as well as other performance parameters before and 125 28 3000 168

M. Binama et al. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 79 (2017) 148179

Table 6
Best efficiency values of the selected PAT operating as a pump, turbine predicted, and
turbine actual [126].

Values of BEP Nq [] H [m] Q [m3/s] N [rpm] P [kW] [%]

Pump as rated 104.3 12.25 0.222 1450 34.0 78.5

Turbine predicted 92.4 4.38 0.139 750 4.68 78.5
Turbine actual 71.9 5.98 0.133 754 6.20 79.0

to 5392% of full stroke, and net specic energy values ranging from
34 j/kg to 83.3 kg/j with 5 j/kg repetitive increments. The prediction
results for pump rated operation, Sharma prediction method, and
presented experimental test; as well as the experimental tests-resulted
eciency hill chart are shown in Table 6 and Fig. 10 respectively. The
tested impeller exhibited a maximum overall eciency of 79% in good
agreement with PAT theory, and it has been able to operate within a big
range of ow conditions.
Sheng et al. [127] studied the inuence of impeller trimming on
PAT performance through experimental and numerical methods. Note
that impeller trimming is generally aimed at pump performance
improvement whenever there is pressure head or ow rate drop.
Three PAT models with full, once-trimmed, and twice-trimmed im-
pellers, were tested at the same rotational speed of 1500 rpm in both
turbine and pump modes with 0.57%, 0.50%, 0.76%, 1.2%,
1.27% and 0.14%, 0.50%, 0.52%, 1.08%, 1.20%; as respec-
tive pressure head, ow rate, hydraulic power, generated shaft power,
and eciency measured uncertainties, at a Jiangsu University-based
test rig. The steady state numerical research was carried out through a
CFD code Ansys CFX, where the k- turbulence model was used, and
static pressure in and mass ow rate out were chosen as inlet and outlet
boundary conditions. The experimental results showed the PAT
eciency drop of about 4.11% from full to twice-trimmed impeller
diameter. Numerical predictions were in an acceptable agreement with
experimental ones, yet comparatively higher, from the neglected losses
in numerical analysis. The PAT performance variation was the com-
bined eect of four driving parameters, viz. impeller diameter, blade
wrap angle, blade thickness, and inlet blade angle.
Sanjay et al. [128] carried out an experimental study to optimize the
PAT geometrical and operational parameters, viz. impeller diameter,
blade tip rounding, and impeller rotational speed. Experiments were
carried out on a selected centrifugal pump of 20 m, 0.0292 m3/s,
1400 rpm, and 75% as rated head, discharge, speed, and eciency, at a
Nirma University-based test rig. Tests were run at a wide range of
rotational speeds from 900 rpm to 1500 rpm on PATs with original,
10%, and 20% trimmed impellers (250 mm, 225 mm, and 200 mm as
respective diameters), before and after blade edge curving. Every test
was run three times and the parameter mean values were considered.
From test ndings, recommendations were given. However they were
more specic to this research case, thus requiring a generalization
process to a wide range of PAT geometrical and operational conditions.
The highest eciency (76.93%) was record at a 10% trimmed impeller
running at 1100 rpm. Finally an empirical correlation was developed
and gave the eciency predictions in the range of 10% compared to
experimental ones. Impeller trimming and blade rounding led to a
better part load performance and eciency increase about 34%
Derakhshan et al. [129], using the gradient-based optimization as
presented in his previous publication [130], modied the impeller
blade geometric design to improve the PAT maximum eciency. The
blade design was rstly optimized through a gradient-based optimiza-
tion technique, coupled with a 3D Navier-Stokes ow solver, after
Fig. 9. Performance curves of PATs with dierent blade thicknesses a) Ns=57 b) Ns=119 which the optimized impeller blades got rounded and experimentally
c) Ns=168 [125]. tested for further analysis. FINE/TURBO was used for simulations and
k- turbulence model was selected to solve the ow RANS equations,
where mass ow rate in and static pressure out were the chosen inlet

M. Binama et al. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 79 (2017) 148179

Fig. 10. Performance Hill chart of the micro-hydro turbine unit [126].

in the range from 3% to 5%. Impeller modication was found a reliable

performance improvement method within PATs.
Suarda et al. [64] presented an experimental study on a small
volute-type centrifugal pump, aiming at pump reverse mode eciency
improvement by modifying the shape of impeller blade tips into bullet
nose-like shape. A small volute-type centrifugal pump having 0.13 m3/
s, 13 m, and 0.4 kW as maximum discharge, head, and motor power
respectively; has been tested under various ow rates, for both original
and modied impellers, at Huai Kra Thing village site. Experiment
results showed an increase in both power and eciency for the
modied impeller. The maximum eciency shifted from 34.34%
(before modication) to 37.5% (after modication) with a compara-
tively lower BEP ow rate (0.00149 m3/s against 0.002 m3/s). Flow
turbulences at the impeller inlet were also substantially decreased. This
method was mostly recommended for large capacity PATs, where
remarkable improvements can be noticed; rather than in small pumps,
as their performance improvement would be as small as ineective.
Yang et al. [132] carried out a numerical study about the inuence
of the radial gap between the impeller and the stationary volute to both
the PAT performance and PAT pressure elds characteristics. A CFD
steady state simulation was rst carried out on PATs with dierent
radial gaps, viz. 0.062D2, 0.145D2, and 0.224D2 (D2: impeller inlet
diameter) at a rotational speed of 1500 rpm. Ansys CFX code was used,
and k- turbulence model was adopted; where static pressure in and
mass ow out were chosen for inlet and outlet boundary conditions
respectively. By continually changing the ow rate, PAT performance
curves were achieved; where it was found that 0.145D2 was the
optimum radial gap as it exhibited the highest eciency (69.18%) at
BEP (Fig. 12). For the next step, monitoring points were set in the inlet
pipe, volute, and blade ow passages and the unsteady PAT ow
simulation was performed, aiming at analyzing the pressure elds in
the PAT ow domain. The rotor-stator interaction created both high
Fig. 11. Experimental results for a) Head number-eciency and b) Power number- and low frequency unsteady pressure uctuations in volute and
eciency [129]. impeller respectively. However, due to volute high frequency uctua-
tions propagation towards the impeller channels and inlet pipe;
and outlet boundary conditions respectively. The tested pump was a impeller pressure elds were a combination of both kinds. With the
low specic speed centrifugal pump (23.5 m, m3/s), with a turbine radial gap increase, volute pressure pulsation amplitudes decreased,
mode rotational speed of 1500 rpm. The test measurement uncertainty whereas the impeller situation remained unchanged.
analysis was carried out through Moat technique [131], where 5.5%, Sheng et al. [133] investigated the eect of splitter blades to the
3.4%, 5.1%, and 5.5% were respective head, ow rate, power, and inuence of PAT's performance and pressure eld characteristics.
eciency uncertainties. As shown in Fig. 11, the optimization process Steady state numerical simulations were carried out through a CFD
raised the PAT performance, but the rounded PAT version exhibited code Ansys CFX, with k- turbulence model; on a single stage
even higher performance compared to both initial and optimized centrifugal pump with and without splitter blades, working at a
versions. Both modications contributed to the eciency improvement rotational speed of 1500 rpm. To include dierent mostly ignored

M. Binama et al. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 79 (2017) 148179

Table 7
BEPs of PAT with different blade numbers [135].

Blade numbers Q (m3/s) (%) H (m) Pshaft (kW)

6 85.00 63.50 32.78 4.82

7 95.00 64.28 37.07 6.16
8 95.00 64.99 37.20 6.25
9 95.00 64.51 36.57 6.10

noticed. The highest PAT eciency was obtained at eight blades; thus
making it the optimum blade number (Table 7). Unsteady pressure
analysis results showed a global pressure pulsation amplitudes de-
crease with the increase of blades number; which got validated through
experimental tests.
Yang et al. [136], through experimental, numerical, and theoretical
methods, investigated the eect of impeller diameter on PAT perfor-
mance. Experimental tests were performed on a single stage centrifugal
pump with a rotational speed of 1500 rpm, with dierent impeller
Fig. 12. Performance curves of the PAT with dierent radial gaps [132]. diameters namely 215 mm, 235 mm, and 255 mm respectively. Both
power and eciency increased after BEP while the Head dropped with
losses in the study, the ow domain was divided into ve parts namely impeller diameter increase. However the PAT eciency, shaft power,
inlet pipe, volute, front and back plate and impeller. Static pressure in pressure head, and ow; all increased in the range from 10.26% to
and mass ow rate out were the selected inlet and outlet boundary 89.39%, for an impeller diameter increase from 215 mm to 255 mm, at
conditions; where, by continuously varying the ow, PAT performance BEP. Simulation results were in a quite good agreement with experi-
curves were acquired. Taking steady state analysis as the initial mental ones; yet small discrepancies were noticed, mainly from some
conditions, unsteady numerical simulations were performed, where neglected losses. Also hydraulic losses were globally noticed to have
pressure monitoring points were placed within PAT ow areas for been decreasing with the impeller diameter increase. Theoretical
further pressure eld analysis. Experimental tests were also performed method over-predicted the BEP characteristics as compared to experi-
to validate PAT numerical performance predictions. Results showed an mental ndings, therefore, they were only recommended for PAT BEP
improvement in PAT eciency with the splitter blades addition. rough estimations.
Numerical and test results were in a good agreement, although
numerical over-prediction was noticed from some neglected losses.
3. Pressure uctuations and ow stability aspects in pump
Also, the decrease in pressure pulsation amplitudes was globally
noticed, with splitter blades addition.
Singh and Nestmann [134] investigated the eect of impeller
In the last decades, world electrical energy consumption has
rounding on PAT performance. Nine centrifugal pumps, eight redial-
signicantly increased with a rate that has reached 17.7% in 2010
ow and one mixed-ow pumps, with rotational speeds ranging from
and is predicted to double by 2025 [137,138]. Hydropower, as one of
20 to 94.4 rpm were experimentally tested for both before and after
bests green electricity production methods, has recently gained a
impeller modication cases, in reverse operating mode. The rounding
substantial role due its dierent advantages over other mostly used
curvature radius was a half of blade and shroud thicknesses at blade
renewable energy (REN) technologies, where pumped storage hydro
and shroud inlet edges respectively, thus conferring a bullet head-like
power plants (PSPP) are now mostly adopted for compensating the
shape at the same areas. The performed modications caused some
power consumption random nature, within the power generation mix,
ow characteristics changes at the inlet section, viz. wake formation
coupled to other power generation technologies. Koutnik et al. [139]
reduction, weakened ow separation, system loss coecient reduction
has pointed out that the use of PSPP in this period of REN domination
and an increase in exit relative ow angle, with subsequent net head
consists of both the energy storage and electrical grid stabilization. A
drop and an increase in net Euler momentum as well as net head across
PSPP is generally built on two reservoirs, where during peak hours
the PAT. The eciency was globally increased with the band of +2%
(daytime usually), the upper reservoir's water is used for power
and further impeller rounding method standardizations were recom-
generation, while at night-time; the lower reservoir's water is pumped
back to upper side. The use of reversible pump turbines (RPT) within
Yang et al. [135] carried out a numerical investigation on the
these plants is the most preferred over other formerly used combina-
impeller blades number on the PAT performance and unsteady
tional arrangements such as Francis turbine/pump or Pelton turbine/
pressure uctuations. The steady state ow through a six blades single
pump, due to its operational exibility as well as its cost-eectiveness.
stage centrifugal pump having a rated rotational speed of 1500 rpm
The o-design operation and, fast and frequent operating modes
was numerically studied through a CFD code Ansys CFX. The k-
switching abilities are some of the RPT advantages. However, despite
turbulence model was chosen, where static pressure in and mass ow
many advantages presented through the use of these machines, their
rate out were the used inlet and outlet boundary conditions; after
operation has been noticed to be connected to dierent unstable
which, the PAT operating curves were plotted by changing the ow rate
phenomena occurrence, characterized by high amplitudes pressure
uctuations and subsequent structural vibrations within these systems.
Unsteady simulation were run at a single mass ow rate and used
Nevertheless, early age studies by researchers like Lacoste [140],
the steady state case as its initial conditions, where pressure eld
Boussuges et al. [141], and Blanchon et al. [142] to say the least;
analysis was nally performed from pressure monitoring points data.
had already investigated and pointed out some pump turbines un-
Experimental tests were carried out for validation of both steady and
steady o-design operation-related challenges. Recently, Zuo et al.
unsteady ow simulation results. Steady simulation predictions were
[143] has mentioned that hydraulic instabilities (pressure uctuations)
found in an acceptable agreement with experimental ones. However,
and related mechanical vibrations can also cause premature mechan-
due to the neglected losses, numerical results over-prediction was
ical failures of the machine. And indeed, Egusquiza et al. [144]

M. Binama et al. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 79 (2017) 148179

presented a case where ow induced pressure uctuations within a

high head pump turbine, resulted in the runner clown breakage. The
pressure uctuations in the vaneless space were conrmed to have
considerably contributed to the failure. Therefore, many of recent
studies have been more about the pump-turbines ow stability aspects,
where pressure uctuations within the machine ow zones and induced
detrimental phenomena such as vibration, noise and mechanical
failures, were the main research focus. Yao et al. [145] investigated
the ow characteristics in the pump-turbine at small discharge in
pumping mode. The study results showed that complex ows, such as
backow and vortex, were noticed in draft tube, runner, and diuser,
leading to signicant pressure uctuations. Sun et al. [146] studied the
distribution of pressure uctuations in a prototype pump-turbine
under pump mode, at dierent mass ow and guide vane openings.
Pressure uctuation distribution was found dierent under dierent
conditions with no regular slope. Deyou et al. [147], has however,
presented the eect of guide vanes opening to the pressure uctuations
in the vaneless space, where it was found that the amplitude of pressure
uctuations with oscillating guide vanes was higher than with the xed
guide vanes opening. Moreover, there was an increase in pressure
uctuations with the opened guide vanes. Yin et al. [148] considered
the water compressibility in the governing equations of unsteady ow
in a pump turbine. Study results revealed that the high pressure
uctuations were predicted by compressible simulation and lower
frequency component in pressure signal could be easily captured,
therefore, water compressibility consideration was recommended for
unsteady ow simulations in hydraulic machines. Liu et al. [149] used
the non-linear RNG k- turbulence model to study the pressure
uctuations in a pump-turbine at 20% relative guide vanes opening.
Only high frequency components were observed for pressure uctua-
tions, where the rst dominant frequency was the blade passing
frequency (BPF) and second was the double (2BPF). It can then be
seen that pressure uctuations in pump-turbines constitute the key-
cause of the machine instability characteristics, taking source from
dierent causes but most obviously, occurring under o-design oper-
ating conditions. Details about pump-turbine stability aspects and
related literature survey are presented in the following section.
Fig. 13. Four quadrant characteristics of a reversible pump turbine a) Flow-speed curve
b) Torque-speed curve [150].
3.1. Pump-turbines stability aspects
to decelerated ow eld, which results in ow separation and related
The general system stability aspect was dened by Greitzer [150] as hydraulic losses as well as possible self-excited vibrations; the design of
the ability of the system to recover its initial state after a certain pump turbines has to be carried out with a big emphasis on the pump
perturbation, where the system can either exhibit static or dynamic operating mode characteristics.
stability. The criterion for stability of the pump turbine is called Prez-Diaz et al. [137] have classied the pump turbines instability
dynamic when the shaft is disconnected from the generator and the features into two types; the rst occurring at low load o-design
speed of rotation varies with the unbalanced torque; On the other hand, operating conditions closer to the runaway (zero torque) in turbine
when the pump turbine is connected to the generator with a frequency mode, otherwise called the s-shaped characteristics (Fig. 14), and the
proportional to the electric grid frequency a static stability criterion second occurring at part-load in pumping mode, generally called the
applies [151]. In their everyday operations, pump turbines go through saddle-type characteristics or hump characteristics.
frequent switching between pump and turbine modes, thus sometimes According to Gentner et al. [153], the ow instability occurs in
working under o-design conditions. The fact that these machines can turbine mode when the head-ow and speed-ow curves have negative
rotate and deliver the ow in two opposite directions, confer them the
so called four quadrants operational characteristics at specic guide
vane openings, allowing them to operate under ve dened regimes,
viz. turbine, turbine brake, pump, pump brake, and reverse pump (see
Fig. 13). Each regime characteristics and working conditions were
presented by Amblard et al. [152].
A pump turbine is basically a compromise between the pump and
turbine but the geometry is more like the pump. Pump turbines are
generally known to have steeper speed-ow characteristics than
Francis turbines of same specic speeds, which under certain operating
conditions, may be the source of stability problems within the machine.
The pump turbine stability aspect can thus be assessed through the
slope of its characteristics curves for both pumping and turbine modes
through head-ow and ow-speed curves.
Because the pump mode of operation is known to be very sensible Fig. 14. S-shape characteristics of a pump turbine [137].

M. Binama et al. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 79 (2017) 148179

Fig. 15. Pump turbine instability conditions for both reverse (b, c) and conventional (a) modes [153].

and positive slopes respectively (dQ / dH <0 and dQED / dnED >0 ), whereas totally blocking some runner channels. This rotating stall got so intense
for pump mode instability, the head-ow curve presents a positive at lower discharges, giving birth to reversed ows and vortices in the
slope (dQ / dH >0 ) (see Fig. 15). Another necessary but not sucient wicket gates. The ow channels blocking action by the rotating stall was
instability criterion for pump-turbine generating mode was derived by believed to be at the origin of the head increase, aecting the ow
Martin [151], and state that the slope of Torque-Speed characteristic characteristics in turbine mode. The induced reversed ow was also
(TED-nED) must be positive. However, with this slope being slightly considered the trigger of the shift to pumping mode by the machine
positive, the system can still present stable characteristics depending within the same operating region. Many studies carried out by dierent
on the uid or the slope of ow-speed characteristics (QED-nED). other researchers, Gentner et al. [153], Houdeline et al. [161], Wang
The discharge, speed and Torque factors (QED, nED and TED) are et al. [162], and Sun et al. [163] to mention about, have presented
expressed as: similar results. To more deeply understand the S-shape characteristics
and related ow instabilities, many more researches have been carried
QED = Q / D 2 gH
out through experimental as well as numerical methods.
nED = nD / gH Sun et al. [155] predicted the ow characteristics near runaway of a
TED = T / gHD 3 (6) low specic speed pump turbine using numerical and experimental
technics. A numerical study with the detached eddy simulation (DES)
Many researchers have carried out dierent studies on reversible
and two-equation turbulence models was rst carried out and the
pump turbines stability aspects, mainly to get more knowledge on the
results were compared to experimental ones. DES results was found to
ow dynamics explaining the causes behind ow instabilities occur-
give better agreement with test ones, where centrifugal forces and large
rence. The following section gives a literature on dierent investigators
incidence angles were found to be at the origin of large vortices
ndings in the same.
development in the vaneless space, which was the main factor of the
s-shaped characteristics occurrence. Nielsen and Svarstad [164] sug-
3.1.1. S-shaped characteristics gested a simulation model for pump turbine characteristics description,
The S-shape induced instabilities are associated with uctuations in the results of which showed an acceptable agreement with experi-
ow rate, torque, speed, and head that have negative eects on the mental ndings. The paper discussed also the throttle technic for
pump turbine start up, synchronization with the grid, and load instability reduction. Instabilities were not totally eliminated in the
rejection processes. For pump-turbines operating in the S-shaped pump turbine but the system stability as a whole was improved.
operating characteristics region, some speeds correspond to three Li et al. [165], for better understanding of the S-shape character-
dierent ow conditions with a positive slope along the operating line istics of the No. 1 unit at Baoquan pumped storage power station,
which results in both positive and negative torques which can easily carried out a research through on-site test and numerical methods. The
damage the pump-turbine components [154,155]. At the start up, the No. 1 Francis type pump turbine was tested at no-load mode at three
machine works at no-load conditions where the acquired hydraulic net heads ranging from 518.04 m to 530.38 m, where operational
energy is totally dissipated in form of energy losses. The developed ow parameters such as vibration, shaft displacement, and pressure uctua-
instability at these areas is characterized by torque uctuations and tion; constituted the main research target. The rotation speed uctua-
can, at a certain point, aect the machine operating mode as well as tions were found to go beyond the synchronization requirements,
inicting signicant uctuations of head and ow with possible self- which got resolved through the use of Misaligned Guide vanes technic.
excited vibrations and noise [156]. For runners, it has been generally The vibration and shaft displacement at no-load were found to be
found that, in terms of operational damage, one start-up operation is dominated by the rotating frequency signal whereas the pressure
equivalent to years of operation under normal operating conditions uctuations didnt show an obvious main frequency for a wide
[157,158]. Many researchers have tried to explain the S-shape in- spectrum. Nevertheless the amplitudes of vibration, shaft displacement
stabilities occurrence reasons and related ow dynamics, and the and pressure uctuations were found to increase with the decrease in
progress so far is of a substantial value. It was generally found that net head values. The numerical and test results were found in a good
the S-shape induced instabilities are due to the head increase at part- agreement with an error of 6%, making the CFD technic reliable for
load, which is, in turn, associated to the blockage of some impeller S-shape characteristics studies.
channels by a developed rotating stall. Cavazzini et al. [166] carried out a research to more deeply
Seidel et al. [159] and Hasmatuchi et al. [160] have carried out understand the cause, onset, and eects of unstable behaviors in pump
almost similar studies on S-shape instabilities. The machine being turbines, precisely in the S-shaped region of their characteristics curve.
tested from stable conditions through runaway to the turbine brake The used numerical model was rst validated through comparison with
conditions, the ow instabilities were noticed at the runaway condi- tests results. The unsteady simulations were then carried out to
tions and got amplied in the S-shaped region with stall cells investigate the pump turbine developing instabilities during load
development, rotating at 70% of the runner rotational frequency and

M. Binama et al. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 79 (2017) 148179

rejection, by decreasing the ow rate from 45.1% QBEP (slightly above

the runway) to 15.9% QBEP (turbine brake) in a 20 s-time interval. The
ow analysis at unstable zones identied the onset and development of
stalled cells, which grew to block some runner and distributor
channels, and rotating in the same direction with the runner. Their
intensication resulted in uctuations in ow, pressure, and torque;
followed by the continuous shifts between turbine and pumping modes
by the machine. The unstable behaviors in pump turbines were found
to be associated with the negative slope of the machine head curve at
part-load, resulting in the S-shape formation at the machine ow-speed
characteristics curve.
Yin et al. [167] performed a CFD simulation of the pump turbine S-
shape characteristics-induced unstable rotating speed. Because the
time-dependent rotational speed was not known a priori, it was
required to get it continuously updated all along the simulation
process; therefore, the use of dynamic sliding mesh method (DSMM)
was a necessity. The stable simulation was rst run, the results of which
got compared to test ones for model validation. The following unstable
simulation at the runaway were performed by varying the machine
operating head and it was found that the severity of the instability was
well quantied by the magnitude of the uctuating quantities once a
quasi-periodic limit cycle oscillation was obtained. The S-zone instabil-
ity was found to take source from developed vortex at the runner inlet,
leading to severe ow channels blockage and associated uctuations in
ow rate, pressure, torque and rotational speed. Hence, the developed
dynamic vortex was conrmed to be the trigger to the dynamic
instability occurrence in pump turbines.
Guggenberger et al. [168] conducted a research aiming at the
improvement of understanding about the mechanisms responsible for
the unstable behaviors occurrence in pump turbines. A reduced scale
pump model was tested where dynamic wall pressure sensors and the
particle image velocimetry (PIV) technics were used investigate the
eect of rotor-stator eects as well as the onset and spread of ow
instabilities within the machine. It was globally found that pressure Fig. 16. Streamlines for 50% (a) and 5% (b) of the ow rates [169].
uctuations increased at expected unstable regions. At turbine brake
zone, the pressure uctuated with a low frequency of about 65% of the compromise between an optimum pump and an optimum turbine.
impeller rotational frequency, within which the induced rotating stall Guggenberger et al. [168] claimed that the pump turbine's capacity to
was detected. The PIV test results showed an inhomogeneous ow work with acceptable eciency in two operating modes as well as the
patterns at the runner channel and vaneless space under part load ability to switch between them in a fast and frequent way; made them
operating conditions. the best choice within Pumped storage power plants over other
Zhang et al. [169] conducted a numerical simulation study on the formerly used arrangements. However their operations at start up,
causes of S-shaped characteristics occurrence in pump turbines, mode transition, and load rejection phases; were found to be associated
whereby the partial reverse pump concept got introduced. Test with instabilities which could result in speed, pressure, torque, and
results were rst used to showcase the occurrence of the unsteady ow uctuations; leading sometimes to machine structural vibrations
instabilities at dierent guide vane openings (GVO), leading to S-shape and possible mechanical failures. For instance, the start-up phase
zone apparition. Next, SST k- turbulence model-based numerical creates severe and random ow variations due to the combined eect of
simulation was conducted on a pump turbine. The ow at the runner dierent factors such as the low runner speed and transient pressure
channels was noticed to shift from stable to highly disturbed state with changes. The associated head and ow uctuations lead to the
induced vortex, as the ow rate decreased (Fig. 16). The reversed ow performance uctuation, and sometimes leading to a prolonged
was noticed even before the machine entered the S-zone, and caused a synchronization process as well [172]. He et al. [173] investigated
great deal vortex in runner as well as guide vanes. This condition the resonance phenomenon in a pump turbine at the start-up, where it
(partial reverse pump) was found to be responsible for the machine S- was found that the rotor-stator interaction (RSI) induced hydraulic
shaped characteristics occurrence. excitation frequency was one of the main causes of resonance in the
Casartelli et al. [170] presented an open source toolbox machine structure. Guggenberger et al. [174] on the other hand,
OpenFOAM-based model to compute the pump turbine ow under carried out an experimental investigation on the pump-turbine in-
no-load conditions. The study was conducted by gradually increasing stability during synchronization. PIV and pressure sensor technics
the guide vanes opening starting from speed no-load conditions to the were used for velocity and other parameters measuring. The study
turbine brake quadrant. The ow analysis results showed a complex results conrmed the existence of a complex ow pattern at the
ow structure from dierent ow patterns interaction in the vaneless vaneless space between rotor and guide vanes and high velocities at
space, where the guide vanes ow produced severe vortices at the the center of runner inter-blade ow areas. The secondary ow causing
runner inlet, blocking some runner ow channels. The produced torque both the local ow blockage and ow reversal was noticed; where PIV
was from the non-blocked ow streams in the vicinity of both the technic proved to be a reliable technic for characteristics study in the S-
runner hub and shroud, whereas both the runner blade pressure and Shaped region. Nevertheless, because the machine must pass through
suction sides were dominated by a reversed ow. zero and negative torque conditions at high speeds, the load rejection
Billdal and Wedmark [171] pointed out that, in practice, a single- phase is mostly characterized by stochastic pressure uctuations, which
stage reversible pump-turbine is by nature forced to be operated as a may even cause the machine to temporarily work in the reverse

M. Binama et al. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 79 (2017) 148179

Fig. 17. Outow into vaneless space between the runner and guide vanes [175].

pumping conditions. A number of studies were carried out to under- openings (22.7%, 45.5%, and 145.5% considering the BEP GVO as
stand the ow dynamics at the above mentioned specic phases and 100%), after which experimentally as well as numerically harvested
related instability sources. Staubli et al. [175] presented a numerical time-averaged data were plotted through graphs for farther analysis. It
study focusing on the ow characteristics near runaway and ow was generally concluded that the observed vortex and backow in the
phenomena leading to the instability. The simulated instabilities in the runner under large GVO, presented a hysteresis characteristic as
operating zone of interest was associated with the occurrence of time- compared to the situation under small GVO. Considering the fact that
dependent in and outow between the runner channels and the s-shape characteristics lead to instabilities at critical phases as grid
vaneless space separating the runner and guide vanes (see Fig. 17). coupling and shutdown in pumped storage plants, accompanied by
This condition was believed to take source from the generated local dierent unwanted hydrodynamic phenomena both in the piping
vortices in the runner channels close to the leading edge, thus being the system and pump turbine, Jacquet et al. [178], targeting a complete
origin of instabilities in the machine. understanding of the ow characteristics evolution, carried out a
Chen et al. [176] carried out a 3D simulation of the pump turbine at numerical study on a pump turbine ow characteristics, from the
its starting period (no load). Aiming at a deep analysis of runner optimal eciency point all along to zero ow point. The ow
transient characteristics such as ow, head, and torque as well as the Computational analysis was performed through a commercial software
internal ow dynamics, v 2f turbulence model-based numerical study Ansys CFX, where the SAS-SST model was adopted for turbulence
was conducted, and the results were compared to test ones for modelling. After validation through results comparison to then-existing
validation. The pressure uctuation amplitudes increased along the experimental ndings, the main sources of ow instability were pointed
ow direction as rotational speed increased. At low ow rates, strong out, and the ow pattern timely evolution was observed. A backow
vortices developed within the runner channels and the water ring was noticed in the vaneless space between the runner and guide vanes,
formed at the runner leading edge, blocking the ow through the taking source from ow separation in the runner inter-blade ow areas.
runner. With the increase in both rotational speed and ow rate, the This backow got intense with a continuous decrease of ow, generat-
water ring gradually got weaker and the rotating stall in runner ing tougher ow blockage and higher momentum transfer between the
channels decreased until its complete elimination (Fig. 18). The impact coming and returning ows, all leading to increased energy losses. The
jet was strengthened by the ow increase and was found to be vaneless gap between the runner and guide vanes was therefore, found
connected to the runner torque increase. guilty for producing highly unsteady ow structures leading to the s-
Edinger et al. [177] examined the ow in the pump turbine under shape characteristics apparition.
zero ow conditions at the machine start-up. After experimental and Stens and Stefan [179] presented a numerical study on the machine
numerical analysis were done, it was found that, under zero ow fast transition from pump to generating mode. The machine ow was
operating conditions, the strong pre-rotation and ow reversal oc- simulated from pumping mode through the pump brake zone to the
curred at the runner inlet. Also, three dimensional vortex structures generating mode. As the ow decreased in pump mode, the induced
and stagnation points appeared within the stay vane channels, followed guide vanes stall with associated ow blockage in some channels,
by ow reversal from the associated strong ow rotation. The test inicted severe pressure uctuations in the runner. Under the pump
measurements and numerical results presented a complex ow pattern brake operating mode, there was an inhomogeneous pressure distribu-
characterized by positive and negative values of meridional and tion in the machine until the machine started the generating mode
secondary velocity components, taking source from the detected fully where the ow at the runner trailing edge got inuenced by the draft
separated ow in the machine. tube ow instability. Four vortex ropes had appeared in the draft tube
Gong et al. [48], using experimental and numerical methods, shortly before the machine rotation direction reversal, which collapsed
studied the pump turbine ow characteristics, aiming at the extraction to two and then to one, as the machine shifted towards the turbine
of results explaining the reason behind the s-shape characteristics operating mode (Fig. 19). High amplitudes of pressure and torque
apparition. The ow through a pump turbine having 29.58 r/min as the uctuations were noticed at the runner inlet vicinity and near the draft
specic speed was analyzed where the CFD commercial code CFX was tube during the direction reversal and the turbine mode beginning
used for numerical simulation and the time-dependent RANS phases respectively.
(Reynold-Averaged Navier-Stokes) model was adopted for turbulence During the pump-turbine transient load rejection process, the
modelling. Computations were run under three dierent guide vane pump-turbine ow is unstable under partial discharge conditions

M. Binama et al. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 79 (2017) 148179

Fig. 18. Streamlines of blade to blade surface of runner during starting period [176].

[180]. The main reason, as noticed through dierent studies, is the transient process. A quite similar study was carried out by
presence of a vortex rope like a swirling rope in the draft tube. Jacob Kaznacheev and Kuznetsov [182], who by video observation and laser
and Prnat [181] pointed out that in case of load rejection, the Doppler anemometry (LDA) studied the unsteady ow characteristics
unsteadiness is amplied and the pressure uctuation may rise greatly in the draft tube of the pump turbine model at part, optimum, and
due to the appearance of the vortex rope. Liu et al. [180] has forced load operating conditions. The draft tube vortex rope was found
computationally investigated the vortex rope development in the pump to inter-shift between broken and full shape at part load, disappear at
turbine draft tube at Load rejection, based on the v 2f turbulence optimum load, and getting wider at forced load conditions. Moreover,
model. At the load rejection transient process, the ow rate decreased the induced cavitation was found to considerably aect the ow
causing the pressure at the runner exit to drop, thus inicting the velocity proles in the draft tube.
swirling ow in the draft tube, which got stronger and stronger with the
continuous ow rate decrease, thus giving the induced vortex rope 3.1.2. Saddle-type or Hump characteristics
more and more strength, until it got separated into two narrow parts at The saddle-type pump instability is undoubtedly the most challen-
the draft tube elbow. This vortex rope was considered the source of ging problem to face in order to signicantly increase the operating
pressure uctuations in pump turbines during the load rejection range of pump-turbines in pumping mode, even in case of variable

Fig. 19. Pressure isosurface under the runner dierent times [179].

M. Binama et al. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 79 (2017) 148179

speed pump-turbine [183]. The operation stability for a pump turbine demonstrated the spatial uctuation pattern existence, mostly concen-
operating in pumping mode is only attained when the dierence of trated at the runner exit, which got increased at o-design conditions.
head between steady state characteristics of the water conduit and the Rodriguez et al. [192] presented a theoretical method which could
pump, increases with increasing ow [184]. Any slight deviation from predict and explain the RSI-induced harmonics in a pump turbine. This
the system stability characteristics will result in system ow unsteadi- method was based on hypothesis that 1) there is always a radial load
ness-induced abnormalities. whenever a runner blade passes in front of a guide vane 2) these loads
The pump mode ow instability is characterized by the head drop have similar shapes 3) their amplitudes depend on which runner blade
with a decreasing ow, known to be associated with hydraulic losses in interacting with which guide vane 4) the loads sequence primarily
both the runner and stator. Flow dynamic mechanisms leading to the depends on the combination of present number of runner blades and
stated instability as described by Glich [90], include rotating stall, guide vanes. With this method, the RSI magnitude distribution around
dierent ow pattern transitions within pump channels, as well as inlet the perimeter of pump-turbine could be determined, allowing the
and outlet ow separation and recirculation, sometimes leading to identication of conditions of industrial interest, such as an eccentricity
vortex formation and possible vibrations. or an excessive RSI in a particular vane [193]. On the other hand, a
At dierent guide vane openings, the pump turbine measurements study on the resonance onset from the circumferential pressure
as performed by Eisele et al. [185], have conrmed the guide vanes uctuation distribution unevenness was presented by Guo and
onset rotating stall as the main issue at the peak of the machine Maruta [194]. The here above mentioned phenomena (rotating stall
characteristics. In line with this, the rotating stall occurring at part load and Rotor-stator interactions) are discussed in a more detailed way in
in a low specic speed pump turbine, operating under pump condi- coming sections.
tions, was investigated by Braun [186]. It was noticed that the Hump characteristics are a main feature of unstable behavior in
investigated stall was quite dierent from the machine generating pump turbines, which happen in pump mode under small discharge
mode, as the found stall pattern consisted of four stall cells, rotating at operation conditions [153], where strong noise can be heard during the
lower speed as compared to the runner speed (almost 2%). The starting period and the start time is prolonged [172]. Many more
increased hydraulic losses connected to the onset rotating stall were studies have been carried out aiming at investigating, and by the way
found to be at the origin of the ow unsteadiness and related head understanding the pump turbine instability under pump mode operat-
drop. Investigations on the relationship between the guide vane open- ing conditions. Some of the conducted studies with corresponding
ings and dierent hydraulic losses in a pump turbine operating in detailed research methodologies are presented in the following.
pumping mode, were carried out by Zhu et al. [187] and Deyou et al. Jee et al. [195] predicted the hump characteristics and associated
[188]. On the other hand, a study as carried out by Zhang et al. [189], rotating stall in a high head pump turbine (Nq=27). Numerical
through both experimental and numerical simulation methods, high- simulations using a commercial code FINE/Turbo were conducted
lighted the undeniable role of the impeller inlet recirculation on the at four dierent GVOs (12, 14, 16, and 18) for a wide range of
machine's performance discontinuity under pumping mode. While ow ows, the results of which got nally compared to tests ones. To
separation and rotating stall have been blamed through many pub- accurately capture the hump shaped performance, periodicity and
lished studies to have played the root cause of pump turbine ow steady approach were adopted. The lines simulation 14 and Sim-
instability, this study instead showed that the impeller inlet ow pre- combine14 on Fig. 20 stand for calculations with periodic and
rotation is the main threat to the machine stability, revealing the combined mesh respectively. The ow showed global stable character-
impeller required attention, both at design and operation stages. In line istics at large GVOs. Nevertheless, the noticed increased ow cells next
with this, Li et al. [190] investigated the ow characteristics of a pump to decreased ow regions, conrmed the high chance of rotating stall
turbine under pumping operating mode. The study also aimed at onset.
demonstrating the LES (Large Eddy Simulation) computational meth- However, their number has been random, where the 18 GVO
od's feasibility in terms of accurate ow dynamics capture in these presented a worse performance with 8 cells, and 16 performed the
machines. Referring to the performed experiments results, LES could best with 0 found cells. With respect to the pump hump performance,
predict the machine performance characteristics better than RANS high opening values, especially 16 GVO, performed well compared to
method. Next, investigations were then carried out on a pump turbine lower ones, where 14 GVO exhibited a worse performance. Cavitation
under dierent ow conditions (0.85 QBE, 0.88 QBE, 0.91 QBE, and phenomenon was also investigated and it was found to impede the
1.00 QBE), trying to gure out the reasons behind the machine Head hump characteristic but inducing more losses at most of operating
drop. The ow recirculation at the runner inlet, especially noticed points in the machine as shown in Fig. 21. Numerical results were
under 0.85QED ow conditions, was nally believed to be at the origin found in good agreements with test ones.
of the Head drop within the energy-discharge curve. Li et al. [196] investigated the ow characteristics at dierent
However, it has been found, in the literature, that the machine discharges for a pump turbine in pump mode, under three dierent
unstable behavior does not only implicate the head drop, but may also GVOs namely: 18 mm, 20 mm, and 32 mm. Results from performed
be accompanied by high cycle fatigue stress, possibly resulting in crack K turbulence model-based simulations agreed well with experimen-
formations and their probable propagation. The rotor-stator interac-
tion (RSI)-born strong excitations were the most blamed causes of this
phenomenon. The pump turbine structural complexity is believed to
favor the RSIs, which is a uid-dynamical interaction between machine
rotating and static parts; and known responsible for uid-dynamical
instabilities onset in the machine.
In his study, Majidi [191] conrmed the existence of RSI-induced
pressure distribution circumferential distortion at the runner exit, the
same place where stronger pressure pulsations were found but
extending to the inlet and aecting the mass ow rate in the runner
channels. The ow unsteadiness was particularly found to substantially
increase the blade loading uctuations as well as contributing to the
important dynamic eects development at o-design conditions.
Researching on the RSI-induced ow unsteadiness eect on the Fig. 20. Obtained characteristics curves for the three used methods under 14 guide
machine ow characteristics, Billdal and Wedmark [171] have also vane opening [195].

M. Binama et al. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 79 (2017) 148179

Fig. 21. Cavitation eect on pump hump characteristics (a) and estimated cavitation
associated losses (b) [195].

tal ones, especially at points near BEP, with an overall error as small as
1.5%. Higher eciency values and their corresponding regions de-
creased the GVO, and the hump characteristics got more pronounced at
low GVOs. Results from dierent afterwards carried out vaned
distributor ow analysis, under dierent GVOs; showed no complex
ow near the BEP, whereas secondary and vortex ow structures were
noticed at small discharges. Loss distributions displayed no regular Fig. 22. Schematic diagram of investigated cross sectional areas (a) and information on
the chosen analysis points (b) [198].
Yao et al. [197] explored the cause of the Hump characteristics and
and increase of the ow drag force, which lowered the through-ow
associated internal ow mechanism. A numerical analysis was con-
capacity. The discharge near the crown on the other hand, increased as
ducted at four points, viz. A, B, C, and D; on a pump turbine model
the ow blockage happened near the band. It was globally concluded
made up with ve parts namely draft tube, runner, guide vanes, stay
that the drooping phenomenon is due to a combined eect of the ow
vanes, and spiral casing; under ow discharge in the range from 55% to
incidence and hydraulic losses in the machine. The main hydraulic
110% optimum discharge. Through a comparative scheme, the stan-
losses were revealed to happen in runner and the tandem cascade;
dard k- turbulent model was preferred over the SST model from its
among which, the runner losses contributed more to the drooping
easier and faster convergence ability, and its simulation results
occurrence. The blade shape optimization was recommended for
presented a good agreement with experimental ones. The main energy
further drooping zone stability improvements.
losses were found concentrated in the runner and guide vanes and they
Liu et al. [199] has both numerically and experimentally studied the
showed a rapid increase with the discharge decrease. It was conrmed
pump turbine hump characteristics and associated cavitation eects. In
that the investigated disorganized ow patterns in form of backow,
order to investigate the relationship between the hump characteristics
non-uniformly distributed velocity ow, complex secondary ow, and
and cavitation phenomenon, numerical simulations were carried out
vortex ow at specic places namely runner inlet, runner outlet, and
with RNG k- and Singhal et al. [200] as the used turbulence and
guide vanes domain respectively, were related to the Hump region
cavitation models. The hump characteristic was found to take source
from the vortical ow patterns onset within the guide vanes and
Li et al. [198] numerically investigated the pump turbine ow
associated ow blockage as the discharge ux decreased. The cavitation
characteristics in the drooping zone. To get to know how and why the
analysis results at four dierent cavitation coecients namely 0.09,
runner ow properties change, an SST K- turbulence model-based
0.12, 0.15, and 0.18; showed the hump characteristic weakening and
numerical simulation was conducted on a pump turbine in pumping
further disappearance with the increase in cavitation coecient values,
mode, at ve operating points namely the part load (45% BEP),
at a continuously decreasing ow rate. Numerical and experimental
drooping zone load (0.65 BEP), near BEP point (90% BEP), BEP
results presented a quite acceptable agreement.
(100% BEP), and overload (124% BEP); with a 32 mm GVO (BEP
Li et al. [201] studied the hump characteristics in pump turbines
stands for the mass ow coecient of the BEP).
under pump mode. An SST K- turbulence model-based 3D unsteady
Numerical results showed a good agreement with experimental
incompressible turbulent ow numerical study was conducted on a
ones. For further ow eld analysis, two cross-sections were chosen at
reduced scale pump turbine model, the results of which showed a solid
the inlet and outlet of one runner channel, and studied at ve points
agreement with test ones. The used numerical scheme and operating
(Fig. 22). With the ow decrease, the vortex ow was formed at the
points are presented by Tables 8 and 9. Next, the operating points in
runner inlet, and its inuence extended to the crown along the ow
the hump region were selected for the ow eld analysis. The analysis
direction with further ow decrease. The investigated backow near the
ndings revealed the existence of three vortex groups within the
band in the inlet led to the decrease of the inlet ow area of passages

M. Binama et al. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 79 (2017) 148179

Table 8
Numerical setup [201].

Simulation type Unsteady

Turbulence model SST K-
Computational domain Full reduced scale model
Time step 1 of the runner revolution
Convergence criterion RMSmax < 10610 internal coecient loops

Table 9
The operating points [201].

Points Qm (kg/s) Efficiency (%)

Best point 192.1 88.09

0.95QBEP 182.5 87.74
0.90 QBEP 172.9 86.81
0.87 QBEP 167.1 85.86
0.80 QBEP 153.7 81.47

tandem cascade channels as the machine entered the Hump region; the
scope and strength of which, changed as the discharge decreased. The
machine hump characteristics were nally believed to take source from
the vortex motion in the tandem cascade.
Braun et al. [202] studied the ow dynamics in the hump region,
and it was generally concluded that the change in the machine global
performance was linked to the change in the investigated second ow
patterns in diuser channels.
Liu et al. [203] used the cavitation model to analyze the pump
turbine hump characteristics, where the ow rates in the range of Q/
QD=0.51.2, were studied through both mixture and single phase
models. Three dimensional unsteady numerical simulations, based on
both SST K- turbulent model and Rayleigh Plesset cavitation model,
were carried out and the results were compared to experimental ones.
The cavitation model presented a solid agreement with experimental
results whereas the single phase model exhibited big errors, making it
reliable only at operating points out of hump zone. The pressure at the
runner inlet decreased with the discharge ux, and the cavitation
bubbles appeared in the ow range from =0.228 to =0.192 where
cavitation phenomenon was to its highest level (see Fig. 23), followed
by its progressive disappearance in the ow range 0.1920.165, and
completely vanished for all ows < 1.6. Considering the investigated
similarity perfectness between the pump hump characteristics and
cavitation curve slopes, it was concluded that the head drop in the
hump region was caused by cavitation occurrence.
Under serious cavitation conditions, pressure uctuations were
found to depend on the rotational speed. The used total head coecient
and ow coecient are dened as:

= 2gH / 02 R2
= Q / 0 R3 (7)
where R is radius of outlet of the runner, 0 is rotational speed of the
runner, and g is acceleration of gravity.

3.2. Flow instability-related hydraulic phenomena

Flow instabilities and related Pressure uctuations and vibrations

in uid machinery are generally believed to be associated with dierent
ow time dependent phenomena occurring in the machine, and
pertaining to internal and external sources, such as rotor-stator
interactions (RSI), ow separation, cavitation, and so forth. In this
section, a brief literature survey on the same phenomena in pump
turbines is presented. Fig. 23. Cavitation phenomenon along with ow rate decrease [203].

3.2.1. Rotating stall

Today's researches on instabilities in pumps are mostly concerned
with what happens inside the pump and how this aects the pump

M. Binama et al. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 79 (2017) 148179

characteristic [204]. Pump turbines may sometimes experience the below the design ow and ows at real instability (hump) zones.
ow unsteadiness from ow separation within the machine ow Hasmatuchi et al. [223] studied the onset and development of the
channels and other associated phenomena such as rotating stall, ow unsteadiness at runaway and low ow conditions. The rotating
impacting the machine characteristics due to induced hydraulic losses. stall phenomena in a low specic speed radial centrifugal pump turbine
Hasmatuchi [2] dened the ow separation as a complex phenomenon, was experimentally investigated, increasing the rotational speed from
which is present in the ow around an aero or hydrofoil, at high nominal through the runaway to low ow conditions (zero torque
Reynolds number, mainly when the incidence angle is changed from value), where high-speed ow visualization technic coupled with air
zero. Simpson [205] claimed that the ow separation is the entire bubbles injection was used for ow eld visualization in the vaneless
process of departure or breakaway or the boundary layer ow break- gap between the impeller and stay vanes, and piezo-resistive pressure
away. Hu and Yang [206] declared that ow generation can be a source sensors were used for wall pressure measurements in spiral casing,
to the unsteady area appearance with associated severe turbulences guide and stay vanes as well as the draft tube. From the BEP to the S-
and many recirculation zones. Another important eect was found by shaped zone, the pressure uctuations changed from low to substan-
Hoarau et al. [207], which is the onset of vortical ow structures, under tially high pressure uctuation, especially pronounced in guide vanes.
two types of mechanism, viz. Kelvin-Helmholtz and von Karman At runaway, a rise of low frequency component at 70% of the runner
instabilities. As portrayed through many investigation ndings, the rotational frequency was noticed, which as the machine approached the
ow separation is the origin of dierent ow unsteadiness-related zero ow conditions, increased in amplitude. One rotating stall rotating
phenomena; especially occurring at o-design operating conditions on with the impeller at sub-synchronous speed was also noticed in the
the solid surfaces of the machine's rotor or stator. It is also believed to vaneless space between the guide vanes and the impeller; accompanied
be the main cause of rotating stall onset within the machine ow by the ow reversal in the guide vanes at lower ows. It was also
channels. conrmed that the investigated impeller channels ow blockage took
Zhang [208] dened the rotating stall as the cells of ow separation, source from the developed rotational ow separations at the same
which emerge at dierent locations in the impeller. A comparatively areas.
global denition was given by Frigne and Van Den Braembussche Liu et al. [224] has studied the pump turbine instability at no load
[209], as the unsteady ow phenomenon that gives rise to the opening. The Numerical simulation results from both SST K- and
occurrence of sub-synchronous rotating velocity uctuations. Both v 2f models were compared to experimental ones as performed by
Brennen [210] and Berten [211] stated that the so called stall, is a Nicholas and Poul [225]. The results of v 2f model were found in a
highly dynamic phenomenon, which occur when the machine operates good agreement with experimental ones, so it was used for the next
with too high incidence angles at the impeller blades or diusor vanes. simulations. A 3D unsteady incompressible ow was used to study the
This leads to the unstable behavior of the ow inside the machine, and pump turbine ow, where the uid coupling and direct mesh were used
it is one of the reasons to the unstable machine operations [212], to simulate the transient rotational speed and the angular rotational
because the induced losses lead to a drop in machine ow character- speed was found through the formula:
istics [184]. Dierent investigators, such as Brennen [213], Dixon
[214], Johnson et al. [215], Sano et al. [216], and Stepanik and Brekke d
[217] among others, have conrmed the rotating stall onset in pumps dt (8)
and pump turbines, at o-design operating conditions. Indeed, as
presented by Fay [218], the stall cell can consecutively occur at several where IZ, MR, MG, t, and stand for moment of inertia, runner torque,
ow channels, sometimes causing the ow blockage and resultant ow payload torque, time, and angular speed respectively. The moment of
reversal. In the researches as carried out by Widmer et al. [219], Seidel inertia was found to have a big inuence on the machine characteristics
et al. [159] and Hasmatuchi et al. [160], the onset rotating stall was at no-load opening as its increase would dump both the speed and
found to rotate in the same direction with the impeller, with a torque uctuations as well as eliminating the rotating stall within the
frequency in the range between 50% and 70% of the impeller rotating machine ow channels.
frequency. For an even more comprehensive literature about the Botero et al. [226] has presented a ow visualization approach in a
subject matter as well as the dynamics behind the rotating turbulences, reduced scale model of a Francis type reversible pump turbine,
review articles as published by Zhang et al. [220], Greitzer [150] and operating from turbine mode through runaway to break turbine
Godeferd and Moisy [221], are recommended. More studies were conditions. Fluorescent monolaments wires (tufting) coupled with
carried out, where the pump turbine ow instability was found to be high speed image processing technics and pressure sensors were
linked to the rotating stall onset in the machine ow channels, and installed in the vaneless space between the runner and guide vanes,
some of them are here-down presented with respective detailed and within the guide vane ow channels, for further descriptive
research methodologies. analysis of ow with and without rotating stall. The analysis was
Pavesi et al. [222] investigated the unsteady phenomena develop- carried out at three operating conditions as shown in Table 10. the ow
ment and the instability characteristics in a two-stage pump turbine at OP1 was found to be stable with pressure uctuations at the blade
under direct operating mode. The investigation was carried out through passing frequency (BPF) and non-accented vortex rope, whereas ow
two technics namely the high-speed ow visualization and dynamic separation and recirculation causing the ow blockage in some vane
pressure measurements respectively, at the operating points ranging channels and the backow from the impeller, was noticed at OP2. At
from the design to part load ow rates. The analysis of pressure point OP3, the ow became even more unstable giving rise to the
uctuations were conducted both in frequency and time frequency rotating stall phenomena. The used ow visualization and pressure
domains and the ow visualization was focused in the wickets gates and measurements technics were conrmed reliable.
in return channels. The investigated machine characteristics showed a Xia et al. [227] carried out a numerical study to investigate the
slight hump region in the ow range from Q/QDIS=0.45 to 0.70. To
Table 10
study the ow characteristics in the instability zones, the high-speed
Reference points in the turbine [226].
visualization technic was used coupled with the air-bubbles injection in
the guide and return vanes. It was found that with a continual ow rate Point Description QED nED
decrease from the design ow rate through the instability zone to the
OP1 High efficiency point: calm flow 0.0995 0.1933
stable zone, the ow unsteadiness got gradually severe, where the back
OP2 Runaway 0.0445 0.2421
ow in the return channel and separated boundary layer as well as the OP3 Turbine-brake 0.0148 0.2324
induced rotating stall in the guide vane, were noticed for ows slightly

M. Binama et al. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 79 (2017) 148179

onset and development mechanism of rotating stall phenomenon in a [143,234] through their presented reviews about pump turbines
pump turbine model under pump mode. CFD simulation results were stability aspects. Pump turbine Cavitation-related studies are of a
found in a good agreement with experimental ones where it was crucial importance as cavitation occurrence can, apart from causing
noticed that the ow stability deteriorated as the ow rate gradually dierent mechanical and hydraulic damages, aect the system natural
decreased from BEP to lower values. At part-load, four equally and frequencies, and is mostly the source of many unwanted system
circumferentially distributed rotating stall cells were noticed, causing behaviors; noise, vibrations and spontaneous pulsations among others.
ow blockage in some vane channels, and a forced ow in others, which For a pump-turbine, cavitation is more serious when it works as a
led to strong ow jets in the spiral casing and associated high pressure pump [235]. A great deal of studies is already carried out on cavitation
periodical impingement on the casing wall as well as the possible occurrence and related instability in pump turbines under both pump
induced structural instability. The observed stall-induced severe ow and generating modes. An experimental study on leading edge cavita-
separations disturbed the ow, leading to periodical high pressure tion detection in a pump turbine operating in pump mode was
uctuations, the intensity of which, was found to dier in dierent presented by Cencc et al. [236]. Zhang et al. [237] predicted the
span-wise planes at the guide vanes. Additionally, the guide vane's both pump turbine cavitation occurrence and its locations. Li and Zhang
sides pressure uctuation dierence induced torque vibrations could [238] compared the centrifugal PAT cavitation performance under
lead to adverse eect on the machine operation. conventional and generating modes. Tao et al. [239] presented a
Hasmatuchi et al. [228] carried out an experimental investigation genetic algorithm-based optimization of pump turbine's cavitation
on a reduced scale model of a reversible pump turbine in generating inception performance.
mode aiming at the description of ow instabilities onset and devel- Borciani and Thalmann [240] and Amblard et al. [152] investigated
opment under runaway and S-shape operating conditions. Pressure the cavitation eect on the S-shape characteristics on two low specic
measurements and high speed ow visualization technics were respec- speed-Francis type pump turbines, operating at the points ranging
tively used in the stator and rotor-stator vaneless space, throughout the from turbine mode through runaway and turbine brake zone to
entire experimental process. The runner speed was continuously reversed pump mode. The S-characteristics slope was found to atten
increased from the best eciency point until the ow got reversed. with the decrease in cavitation number, which was more pronounced at
The rotating stall appeared at the runaway and its amplitude gradually the model with higher specic speed.
increased with a continuous ow decrease, reaching its maximum at Liu and Guan [241] studied the eect of cavitation on pressure
zero ow. One rotating stall rotating at a sub-synchronous speed was uctuations in a pump turbine operating in pump mode. The increase
noticed at rotor-stator vaneless gap, causing the ow blockage in some in cavitation number was found to decrease the pressure uctuation
runner ow channels. amplitudes. Schmidt et al. [242] investigated the cavitation onset at the
pump turbine leading edge through acoustic emissions and high speed
video recording technics. Jese et al. [243] investigated the cavitation
3.2.2. Cavitation locations in the runner of a pump turbine reduced scale model
Cavitation is dened as the process of formation of the vapor phase operating in pump mode for a wide range of ows. It was observed
in a liquid when it is subjected to reduced pressures at constant that the hump characteristics was due to ow separations in the
ambient temperature [229]. In hydroelectric machines, static pressure distributor and vaneless gap area, leading to increased losses at lower
may sometimes fall far enough to go below the uid vapor pressure, ow rates. Moreover, cavitation position was found to depend on the
thus giving rise to the cavitation phenomenon and related ow velocity triangle at the runner inlet and its zones were getting wider
instabilities. The design, operation and refurbishment of hydraulic with the decrease in net pressure suction head (NPSH) values. It was
turbines, pumps and PATs are strongly related to cavitation phenom- located at blade leading edge's suction side for reduced ows, on blade
ena, which may occur in either the rotating runner-impeller or the leading edge's suction or pressure side depending NPSH value at BEP
stationary parts of the machine [230]. So far, a great deal of studies ow, and at the blade leading edge's pressure side for increased ows,
have been carried on cavitation occurrence in dierent hydraulic as shown in Fig. 24. Numerical and experimental results were found in
machines, where dierent associated aspects viz cavitation causes, a good agreement.
cavitating ow dynamics, cavitation parameters, cavitation impact on Li et al. [244] has investigated the relation between the pump-
system characteristics, and mitigation technics to say the least, have turbine hump characteristics and cavitation phenomenon. Numerical
been discussed. Lou et al. [231], Kumar and Saini [232], and Maxime simulations based on the single phase model and multiphase model
et al. [233] have presented reviews on dierent studies as carried out were carried out where the multiphase model showed better agreement
by several investigators on cavitation occurrence in hydro-turbines and with the test results. Four operating points namely A, B, C, F (see
centrifugal pumps. Many other studies, Gantar [99], Prasad et al. [24], Fig. 25) were analyzed, where as shown in Fig. 26, cavitation
Singh [44] among others have discussed cavitation and its eect on phenomenon was found more pronounced at Hump (Point B) and
pump turbine eciency. Moreover, a number of investigations on high ows (Point F) operating points.
cavitation occurrence in pump turbines were discussed by Zuo et al.

Fig. 24. Inlet velocity triangles for dierent ow rates [243].

M. Binama et al. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 79 (2017) 148179

Fig. 25. Head-Discharge facto curve [244].

Therefore, it was concluded that the hump characteristic is some-

how linked to the cavitation occurrence.
Tao et al. [245] studied the cavitation inception criteria and its local
position in the pump-turbine runner operating in pump mode. Fig. 27. Positions of inception cavitation under dierent ows [245].
Numerical simulations were carried out at ve dierent ow rates
namely 360 kg/s, 405 kg/s, 450 kg/s (design ow), 495 kg/s, and location was found to depend on the inlet ow ux, where low ow
540 kg/s; where cavitation performance control was achieved by rates and high ow rates were found to exhibit blade leading edge's
gradually varying the outlet static pressure. It was demonstrated that suction and pressure sides respectively (Fig. 27). The vapor volume
o-design operating points far away from the design point, experienced fraction in the range from 0.0001% to 0.001% was recommended as the
a comparatively early cavitation occurrence. Moreover, cavitation proper criterion for cavitation inception in pump-turbines.

Fig. 26. Cavitation regions for dierent operating points [244].

M. Binama et al. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 79 (2017) 148179

propagate through the entire machine. Nicolet et al. [249] claimed that
the RSI take source from the combined eect of rotating pressure eld
related to runner blades and wakes of wicket gates, and that the RSI-
induced pressure waves lead to two dierent kinds of pressure
uctuations within the machine viz diametric pressure mode in the
vaneless space between runner and guide vanes, and the standing
waves in the spiral casing. As presented through dierent studies,
Tanaka [250] and Fischer et al. [251] among others, the diametrical
kind can give rise to resonance phenomena occurrence between the
rotating diametric pressure and the impeller structure. On the other
hand, the standing wave may inict resonance with the power house
structure or cause pressure uctuations in the penstock. The RSI may
be considered as a combination of inviscid ow, potential, and viscous
ow, wake, interactions [252]. Considering the potential eect, the
stator channels ow is periodically aected by the rotating rotor blades,
otherwise called the blade passing frequency (BPF) eect, which is
source to pressure uctuations in the stator, possibly extending to the
Fig. 28. Three selected operating points used for CFD simulations [246]. spiral casing. On the other hand, as stated by Gonzalez et al. [253], the
periodical passing frequency of the guide vanes when viewed from the
Anciger et al. [246] has predicted the rotating stall occurrence and impeller, otherwise referred to as Guide vane passing frequency (GPF),
cavitation inception in a pump turbine under pump mode operating is quantitatively within the range of natural frequencies of the impeller
conditions. Analyzed at three operating points namely OP1, OP2, and components, and therefore serving the source of unwished vibrations
OP3 (Fig. 28), the rotating stall was initially observed at OP2 (a point and fatigue cracks in the impeller. The mainly inuencing operating
slightly above the projected maximum head), and got fully developed at parameter for both BPF and GPF was found to be the rotor-stator
OP3 with three distinct rotating stall circumferentially and equally vaneless gap. Arndt et al. [254] investigated the inuence of rotor-
distributed, and rotating in the runner rotational direction with a speed stator vaneless gap on pressure uctuations in a centrifugal pump and
approximately equal to one stay vane pitch per rotor revolution. This found that with the radial gap increase in the range of 1.54.5% of the
phenomenon was found to take source from some guide vane channels runner discharge diameter, the pressure uctuations decreased by
blockage by the onset stall cells, causing the ow to forcibly nd its way 50%. It's then obvious that the system will experience strong interac-
in next channels thus resulting in equidistant ow jets in the casing, tions at full guide vanes opening, as the rotor-stator vaneless ring will
and causing high pressure uctuations. The investigation results on be at its smallest thickness; which may lead to vibrations, hydraulic
cavitation inception were not very clear, but their numerical and test losses, and even blades cracks from resonance onset between the
results presented good correlation. vibration frequency and the system natural frequency [253,255,256].
Liu et al. [247] carried out a combined study on the pump-turbine Other parameters, as presented through Al-Qutub et al. [257] and
hump characteristics and cavitation performance, at three dierent Parrondo-Gayo et al. [258] are the blade trailing edge shape and
GVOs namely 12, 18, and 24 in pump mode. The mixture multi- operating regime respectively. The potential and viscous eects such as
phase model was used together with SST K- turbulence model for the wakes [259,260] and ow separations [261] play key roles in pressure
numerical simulations, the results of which got compared and pre- uctuations increase. RSI-caused failures have been known from so
sented good agreement with experimental ones. It was found that both long ago where dierent cases, runner failure and structural vibrations
the cavitation and hump characteristics depend on the relative guide among others, were frequently met. As a matter of fact, as shown in
vane opening. And both phenomena were found more pronounced at [144,262], runner failures were recently met from high RSI amplitudes,
lower values of GVO. Cavitation locations were found at the blade where runner natural frequency was very close to wicket gate excitation
leading edge's suction side and got wider at the Hump wave trough. frequency, within a short operational time. Coutu et al. [263] presented
Moreover, the pressure uctuations increased greatly at the maximum an impeller runner blade breakage case at a 447 MW pump-turbine,
cavitation point, and reduced with cavitation region decrease. The after a 200 h working time.
decrease in relative opening was found to greatly increase the vaneless In the latest designs of pump-turbines, RSI has become the most
space pressure uctuations. important excitation over the impeller-runner and usually produces the
highest vibration levels measured in the whole pump-turbine [192].
The mostly used technics for RSI characteristics analysis have been
3.2.3. Rotor-stator interactions (RSI) vibration, pressure and velocity measurements; among which veloci-
The pressure distribution on any hydraulic machine's blade, metry technics, PIV [264,265] and LDV [266,267] to say the least, have
changes from pressure side to suction side, thus producing the required been widely adopted. It is of a central importance, to analyze the RSI
working torque. The pressure eld rotates with the runner in such a characteristics and its eects in turbo machines, which can only be
way that, for a rotationally symmetric eld, an external xed observer achieved through its deep understanding, where its mechanism and
would notice a periodically varying succession of pressure and velocity inuencing parameters must be clearly described. Dierent researchers
as the runner rotates. Unfortunately, this rotational symmetry is not have so far presented their ndings on rotor-stator interaction and
always present in turbo machines. This serves the source of many induced instabilities in pump-turbines. Yan et al. [268] investigated the
periodic ow disturbances, in the stator by the rotor periodic blades eect of water compressibility on RSI-induced pressure uctuations.
passage and in the rotor by the stator non-uniform ow, which is The CFD method plausibility was rst validated by comparing its
generally known as Rotor-Stator Interaction or RSI. This phenomenon results with those found through a 1-D code for hydraulic networks,
is generally known to give source to dierent ow unsteadiness SIMSEN. Next the eect of compressibility was investigated through
associated with high pressure uctuations, leading to possible vibra- compressible and incompressible numerical simulations at dierent
tions and structural fatigue within the machine. Hasmatuchi [2] and sound speeds. Compressible simulation presented comparatively larger
Zobeiri [248] have stated that during the operation of a hydraulic pressure uctuations in the vaneless space. On the other side, the
turbomachine at any operating point, the relative motion between the incompressible solution revealed pressure uctuation amplitudes lin-
impeller blades and guide vanes induces pressure uctuations that early decreasing along the runner channel center line, while compres-

M. Binama et al. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 79 (2017) 148179

sible solutions exhibited parabolic distributions coinciding with acous-

tic analysis. It was conrmed that the water compressibility has a big
inuence on pump turbine dynamical characteristics, especially in
cases of RSI-born pressure uctuations. Rodriguez et al. [193] in-
vestigated the RSI characteristics in a 100 MW pump turbine, where
results from pressure measurements and vibration measurements both
in the bearing and rotating with the shaft, have been compared.
Pressure measurements technic was found more suitable for RSI
characteristics detection and monitoring, and its results could still be
found through the vibration measurements rotating with the shaft, thus
making it more appropriate as compared to the vibration measure-
ments in the bearings. The quality dierence in information provided
by both vibration measurements methods was mainly due to the
dierent frequency response of rotor and bearing. Franke et al. [269]
Fig. 30. Frequency components of pressure coecient in the distributor [270].
developed the previous RSI models. They also studied the RSI-arising
pressure mode shapes in a reversible pump turbine. Pressure measure-
models, through two CFD codes, viz. Fine turbo and CFX TASK ow.
ments were carried out at dierent areas such as the priming chamber
The analysis results showed that the unsteady rotor-stator interface
between runner and guide vanes as well as between the runner crown
model as performed through the two codes could accurately capture
and the head cover. Next, the RSI induced pressure pulsations were
dierent ow features and reproduce all RSI eects namely potential,
calculated through elementary uid ow principles, the results of
viscous and pure advective ones. Moreover, the used sliding mesh R-S
which agreed favorably with measured ones. Zobeiri et al. [270]
interface method was found to be very demanding in terms of mesh
investigated the rotor-stator interactions in a pump-turbine in gen-
and time step sizes thus requiring a huge numbers of nodes even for
erating mode at the maximum guide vanes opening. The wall pressure
simple geometries. The pump mode analysis results revealed a highly
measurements using piezo-resistive sensors in the distributor channels
non-uniform ow from the runner; where at o-design operations, the
were carried out and the results satisfactorily agreed with numerical
ow entering the stator channels was strongly inuenced by the rotor-
ones. Fig. 29 shows the selected monitoring points for numerical
stator relative position. The perceived ow behaviors at the rotor-stator
pressure uctuation measurements in one distributor channel. The
zone led to complex ow patterns in the stator. When compared to
spectral analysis revealed that the dierence originated from the value
experimental ones, the unsteady simulation results displayed a good
of BPF component. The maximum pressure amplitude of BPF was
agreement, where dierent RSI-associated ow features could be
noticed in the rotor-stator area but it decreased very fast backwards to
correspondingly captured.
the stay vanes as shown in Fig. 30, and the pressure amplitude of the
rst harmonic spread to the spiral casing.
Bolleter [271] introduced a new approach on rotor-stator interac- 3.3. Pump-turbine stability improvement attempts
tions, where the accounted pressure uctuations were considered to
take source from the interaction between the two non-uniform velocity- As shown in the above sections, the pump-turbine runner is the
pressure elds; the rst coming from the guide vanes and the other is central part from which the machine eciency and ow stability can be
the non-uniform pressure at the runner inlet [248]. counted. Basically, the runner geometry can considerably inuence the
Guedes et al. [272] studied the RSI dynamics in a pump turbine machine ow stability, be it saddle-type or s-shape characteristics
through a comparative scheme between RSI steady and unsteady related. Therefore, its optimization would contribute a lot to the
machine stability improvement. Dierent studies have been carried
out aiming at improving the pump-turbine stability aspects, where the
most vulnerable stages, viz. start-up and load rejection, have been
deeply analyzed to come up with adequate solutions to associated
instabilities, where dierent universally applicable and case-specic
technics have been presented.

3.3.1. Misaligned guide vanes (MGV)

This technic is mainly used for pump-turbine start-up related
instability mitigation. It was used for the rst time in COO II pump-
turbines as presented by Klemm et al. [273]. The technic consists of
preopening a number of guide vanes during the machine start-up to
improve the associated S-shape instabilities. Fig. 31 shows such an
arrangement. Dierent studies have been conducted on the use of
MGV, related ow dynamics, and its eect on the machine ow
characteristics. Liu et al. [274] conrmed that the use of pre-opened
guide vanes could increase the ow and reduce vortices, leading to a
complete elimination of S-characteristics.
Liu et al. [275] investigated the eect of dierent guide vanes
openings on the pressure eld in rotor-stator vaneless space. The non-
linear Partially-Averaged Navier-Stokes (PAN) model was used to study
the S-shape instabilities of a pump turbine with MGV, where it was
nally found that the use of MGV improved the ow stability in the so
called S-shape zone, whereby the water ring in the vanless got
destroyed. However, the MGV was noticed to worsen the pressure eld
in the vaneless space, as the amplitudes of pressure uctuations got
Fig. 29. Locations of monitoring points in the distributor [270]. larger with the increase in guide vanes opening.

M. Binama et al. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 79 (2017) 148179

uctuation amplitudes in the vaneless space were recorded at its

maximum and rapidly reduced as the rotating speed increased. The
fact that MGV destroys the ow distribution symmetry in the guide
vanes and runner was believed to be responsible for increased pressure
uctuation amplitudes in the machine. Similar results were found by
Xiao et al. [280].

3.3.2. Inlet valve throttling

Cepa [281] presented a practical experience in dealing with reverse
pump-turbines instability at the start-up within Dalesice and
Zarnowiec storage power plants. The use of two methods, as presented
by Drer et al. [282], digital turbine speed governor modication and
articial head loss addition at the lower part of the penstock by means
of buttery throttling, was discussed. The upstream biplane buttery
valve eectively improved the turbine start-up as it was able to push
the stability limits to higher speed factor values. This start-up modied
technic has not presented any mechanical drawback.
Nielsen and Svarstad [164] discussed the mechanism when using a
Fig. 31. Positions of four MGVs [273].
throttle to achieve system stability, even if the turbine characteristics
imply instability. Mesnage et al. [283] proposed a similar start-up
Table 11
Operation condition points [276].
strategy for hydraulic turbines prone to S-shaped characteristic, based
on a gain scheduling approach from nite horizon predictive control
Operating conditions No. of MGV MGV Opening Rest MGV opening [234].

MGV0 0+9 9
MGV5 3, 4, 13, 14 5+9 9
3.3.3. Case-sensitive attempts
MGV15 3, 4, 13, 14 15+9 9 Olimstad et al. [284] investigated the geometric parameters which
can inuence the reversible pump-turbine characteristics. Five dier-
ent runner blade's leading edge proles were analyzed. The results
Xiao et al. [276] predicted the pressure pulses in a Francis type revealed that the used proles modied the radius of curvature and
pump-turbine at dierent MGV openings as shown in Table 11. inlet blade angle, where smaller blade angles gave less steep character-
Pressure monitoring points were xed in all machine ow areas, viz. istics in turbine mode. In respect to the pump-turbine stability
runner, guide and stay vanes, spiral casing, and draft tube. The improvement, some recommendations were then provided, viz. in-
numerical solution showed that the MGV technic substantially reduced creasing the blade length, increasing the inlet blade angle, increasing
the pressure pulses in stationary parts of the machine, where pressure the radius of curvature at the pressure side of the blade leading edge,
amplitudes considerably dropped as the MGV opening increased. and decreasing the inlet radius.
However, the same technic was found to aggravate the situation within Sun et al. [285], provided that pump-turbine stability is more
the rotating domain as pressure amplitudes were found to increase associated with pressure pulsations than anything else, investigated the
with the MGV openings. In their previous almost similar study [277], a inuence of the distributor pitch diameter on pressure uctuations in a
substantial RSI inuence at small openings had been noticed, espe- pump-turbine's rotor-stator vaneless space and external performance.
cially in the guide vanes and runner domains. The analysis was carried out over D0/D1 values ranging from 1.099 to
Sun et al. [163] studied the ow in the pump-turbine's S-shaped 1.025. The maximum eciency was found when D0/D1is 1.129 and
region aiming at analyzing the S-characteristics and pressure uctua- dierent guide vane positions gave dierent pressure uctuation
tions with and without MGV. The analysis results of ow near no-load amplitudes with minor dierences.
conditions, showed that even though the MGV technic eliminated the Kerschberger et al. [286] optimized the runner blade prole
S-shaped characteristics, it has increased the radial forces uctuations through dierent methods namely the inverse design, numerical
and vibration in the runner, leading ow symmetry destruction and simulation, and mode testing methods; to come up with a signicantly
system oscillations. This technic was also conrmed to give source to improved design in terms of hydraulic performance compared to the
pressure uctuations in the draft, thus leading to the whole unit's initial design.
unstable operations. Yin et al. [287] presented a method to eliminate the pump-turbine
Liu et al. [278] analyzed the MGV method induced pressure S-shaped characteristics thus improving the pump-turbine stability. As
uctuations in a pump-turbine during the start-up period at no-load a big part of hydraulic losses generally happens in the runner, the
conditions. The analysis results of two models, viz. synchronous and method for runner hydraulic performance improvement was proposed.
MGV models in terms of pressure, showed that amplitudes of pressure Through the analysis of blade loading by the direct analysis approach,
uctuations in the MGV model was twice larger than the synchronous the S-shaped characteristics were eliminated by the blade meridional
one. The use on MGV destroyed the uniform ow in the casing, causing section broadening. For validation, two similar impellers with dierent
vortical ow patterns apparition in the rotor-stator vaneless space, the meridional section designs were manufactured and tested, where the
same place where the dominant frequency (the BPF) was observed. runner with broader meridional section exhibited stable performance.
Even though the MGV technic could improve the S-characteristics, it Nowicki et al. [288] presented the optimization of a pump turbine
was found guilty of ow instability creation due to the pressure at Tongbai pumped storage plant. Liu et al. [289] carried out a pump
uctuations increase in the machine. turbine hydraulic optimization to eliminate the S-characteristics at
Xiao et al. [279] investigated the S-shaped ow characteristics and Xianju pumped storage plant. Numerical and experimental tests were
their improvement by MGV method in a pump-turbine. The MGV carried out, and the onset vortex and water ring at the vaneless space
method ability to eliminated S-characteristics was veried, and as were found to cause ow blockage in some channels thus contributing
shown in the above presented review, this method inicted pressure to the S-shape characteristics appearance. Thus both of the phenomena
uctuations amplitudes increase within the ow passages as well as the were found to be the optimization targets. After dierent variations of
runner radial forces at the starting period. At start-up, the pressure ow conditions, the S-characteristics were eliminated and the inner

M. Binama et al. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 79 (2017) 148179

ow was improved. The improved runner provided the ow steadiness tion of this article.
at no-load conditions.
4. Concluding remarks
This work is supported by National Natural Science Foundation of
This paper presents a deep literature review from previously China (51506037, 51276046, 71390522), Foundation for Innovative
published works on pump-turbine technical aspects namely pump- Research Groups of the National Natural Science Foundation of China
turbine selection, performance prediction and ow stability, where the (51421063), and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central
following conclusions are drawn, followed by some remarks regarding Universities (HIT.NSRIF.2017047).
the future research in the area of PAT:
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