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Hydropower 1700’s ~ Early 1800’s

— For more than a century, the technology
for using falling water to create
hydroelectricity has existed.

— The evolution of the modern hydropower

turbine began in the mid-1700s when a
French hydraulic and military engineer,
Bernard Forest de Bélidor wrote
Architecture Hydraulique.


— In this four volume work, he described the

working of a vertical-axis versus a
horizontal-axis machine.

— Hydro-electric power stations use the energy

from falling water to make electricity.

— Running water is a very powerful source of


— For hundreds of years it has been used to drive

machinery, grind flour, and saw lumber.

Late 1800,s — Michigan's Grand

Rapids Electric Light
and Power

— Niagara Falls, New


— Fox River in Appleton,



— During the 1700s and 1800s, water turbine

development continued.

— In 1880, a brush arc light dynamo driven

by a water turbine was used to provide
theatre and storefront lighting in Grand
Rapids, Michigan; and in 1881, a brush
dynamo connected to a turbine in a flour
mill provided street lighting at Niagara
Falls, New York.

— These two projects used direct-current


— Alternating current is used today. That

breakthrough came when the electric
generator was coupled to the turbine
which resulted in the world’s first
hydroelectric plant located in Appleton,
Wisconsin, in 1882.


— Industrial age

— New technology

— Better Construction

— Bigger Budgets

• By the mid 1900s, hydroelectric power

accounted for more than 40 percent of the
United States' supply of electricity.

• During the industrial revolution the need for

energy was provided by the increasing
number of dams, which supplied the
production lines, businesses and homes.


— At the peak utility hydropower provided 75%

of the total US energy requirement.

— In the later half of that century as the

country energy demand grew hydropower
was replaced and energy needs were more
and more being meet by fossil fuels and

— 1/10 of electricity, US.
— 20% World


— With the increase in development of other

forms of electric power generation,
hydropower's percentage has slowly declined
and today provides around 10% of the
United States' electricity.
— But current Dams account for 19% of
electricity generated worldwide, and 24
countries generate more than 90 percent of
their power from dams.
— There are 45,000 large dams in the world,
most built in the 1970s. China and India
contain half the world's dams.

How Hydropower Works

— Hydropower is using water to power machinery
or make electricity.

— Water constantly moves through a vast global

cycle, evaporating from lakes and oceans,
forming clouds, precipitating as rain or snow,
then flowing back down to the ocean.


— The energy of this water cycle, which is driven

by the sun, can be tapped to produce electricity
or for mechanical tasks like grinding grain.

— Hydropower uses a fuel—water—that is not

reduced or used up in the process.

— Because the water cycle is an endless, constantly

recharging system, hydropower is considered a
renewable energy.


— When flowing water is captured and turned into

electricity, it is called hydroelectric power or

— There are several types of hydroelectric facilities;

they are all powered by the kinetic energy of
flowing water as it moves downstream.

— Turbines and generators convert the energy into

electricity, which is then fed into the electrical
grid to be used in homes, businesses, and by

Types of Hydropower Plants

— There are three types of hydropower facilities:
impoundment, diversion, and pumped storage.
Some hydropower plants use dams and some do

— Many dams were built for other purposes and

hydropower was added later. In the United
States, there are about 80,000 dams of which
only 2,400 produce power.


— The other dams are for recreation, stock/farm

ponds, flood control, water supply, and irrigation.

— Hydropower plants range in size from small

systems for a home or village to large projects
producing electricity for utilities.

— The most common type of hydroelectric power
plant is an impoundment facility.
— An impoundment facility, typically a large
hydropower system, uses a dam to store river
water in a reservoir.
— Water released from the reservoir flows through
a turbine, spinning it, which in turn activates a
generator to produce electricity.
— The water may be released either to meet
changing electricity needs or to maintain a
constant reservoir level.


An impoundment hydropower plant dams water in a


— A diversion, sometimes called run-of-river, facility
channels a portion of a river through a canal or
penstock. It may not require the use of a dam.

The Tazimina project in Alaska is an example of a diversion hydropower

plant. No dam was required.


Diversion (Brazil)

Pumped Storage
— When the demand for electricity is low, a
pumped storage facility stores energy by
pumping water from a lower reservoir to an
upper reservoir.

— During periods of high electrical demand, the

water is released back to the lower reservoir to
generate electricity.


Pumped Storage
— Energy control-
produce power on

— 70-80% efficency

— Net electricity

— Can be PV and wind


Sizes of Hydroelectric Power

— Large Hydropower
— Although definitions vary, large hydropower as
facilities that have a capacity of more than 30

— Small Hydropower
— Small hydropower as facilities that have a
capacity of 100 kilowatts to 30 megawatts.


Large Hydro-systems
— Defined as greater
than 30 megawatts by
Department of Energy
— Hoover dam- (1300
— Largest in World
Venezuela (10,000MW)
— China- 18,600 MW

Small Hydro-systems
— DOE 100kw – 30mw

— Industries, towns

— Thailand (9mw)

Could power several industries or a small town


— Micro Hydropower
— A micro hydropower plant has a capacity of up
to 100 kilowatts. A small or micro-hydroelectric
power system can produce enough electricity
for a home, farm, ranch, or village.

Micro-hydro system
— DOE 0-100 kw

— Farm, home, village

— Increasing in #’s


Types of Hydropower Turbines

— There are two main types of hydro turbines:
impulse and reaction.

— The type of hydropower turbine selected for a

project is based on the height of standing
water—referred to as "head"—and the flow, or
volume of water, at the site. Other deciding
factors include how deep the turbine must be
set, efficiency, and cost.

Turbines: Reaction or Impulse

— Depends on: head, flow, and pressure
— Impulse- similar to water wheel (cupped Blades)
Spins in the air

— Reaction- used in large facilities

— (Blades similar to boat propeller) Submerged in


Impulse Turbine
— The impulse turbine generally uses the velocity
of the water to move the runner and discharges
to atmospheric pressure.

— The water stream hits each bucket on the

runner. There is no suction on the down side of
the turbine, and the water flows out the bottom
of the turbine housing after hitting the runner.

— An impulse turbine is generally suitable for high

head, low flow applications.

Impulse-type Turbine
— High-head use-
(Vertical drop >
— High pressure (PSI)


— Pelton
— A pelton wheel has one or more free jets
discharging water into an aerated space and
impinging on the buckets of a runner.

— Draft tubes are not required for impulse turbine

since the runner must be located above the
maximum tailwater to permit operation at
atmospheric pressure.

— Cross-Flow
— A cross-flow turbine is drum-shaped and uses an
elongated, rectangular-section nozzle directed
against curved vanes on a cylindrically shaped

— It resembles a "squirrel cage" blower. The cross-

flow turbine allows the water to flow through the
blades twice.


— The first pass is when the water flows from the

outside of the blades to the inside; the second
pass is from the inside back out.

— A guide vane at the entrance to the turbine

directs the flow to a limited portion of the runner.

— The cross-flow was developed to accommodate

larger water flows and lower heads than the

Reaction-type Turbine

— Low-head situations
(high flow/ low PSI)


Reaction Turbine
— A reaction turbine develops power from the
combined action of pressure and moving water.

— The runner is placed directly in the water stream

flowing over the blades rather than striking each

— Reaction turbines are generally used for sites

with lower head and higher flows than compared
with the impulse turbines.

— Propeller
— A propeller turbine generally has a runner with
three to six blades in which the water contacts
all of the blades constantly. Picture a boat
propeller running in a pipe.

— Through the pipe, the pressure is constant; if it

isn't, the runner would be out of balance. The
pitch of the blades may be fixed or adjustable.
The major components besides the runner are a
scroll case, wicket gates, and a draft tube.


There are several different types of propeller

— Bulb turbine
— The turbine and generator are a
sealed unit placed directly in the
water stream.
— Straflo
— The generator is attached directly to
the perimeter of the turbine.
— Tube turbine
— The penstock bends just before or
after the runner, allowing a straight
line connection to the generator.


— Kaplan

— Both the blades and the wicket gates are

adjustable, allowing for a wider range of
— Kaplan hydropower turbine
Credit: GE Energy

— Francis

— A Francis turbine has a runner with fixed buckets

(vanes), usually nine or more. Water is
introduced just above the runner and all around
it and then falls through, causing it to spin.
Besides the runner, the other major components
are the scroll case, wicket gates, and draft tube.
— Francis hydropower turbine
Credit: GE Energy


Hydropower – Pros and Cons

— Current hydropower technology, while
essentially emission-free, can have
undesirable environmental effects, such as
fish injury and mortality from passage
through turbines, as well as detrimental
effects on the quality of downstream

Fish Passage
— Fish populations can be impacted if fish cannot
migrate upstream past impoundment dams to
spawning grounds or if they cannot migrate
downstream to the ocean.
— Upstream fish passage
— Fish ladders or elevators
— trucks
— Downstream fish passage
— aided by diverting fish from turbine intakes
using screens or racks or even underwater
lights and sounds, and by maintaining a
minimum spill flow past the turbine.


Fish Ladder

Water Quality and Flow

— Hydropower plants can cause low dissolved
oxygen levels in the water, a problem that is
harmful to riparian habitats and is addressed
using various aeration techniques.

— Maintaining minimum flows of water downstream

of a hydropower installation is also critical for the
survival of riparian habitats.


Environmentally Friendly Turbines

— Environmentally friendly turbines, also called
"fish friendly" turbines, aim to reduce fish
mortality when passing through the turbine,
while also increasing water quality by
maintaining dissolved oxygen concentrations.

— Control of floods and water flow

— Generate electric cleanly and is renewable

— Efficiency – Energy to Electricity at 90%


— Disrupt natural flow patterns of the stream
— Fertilization of flood plain
— Fish migration
— Sediment and stratification
— Decommissioning and Dam removal
— Hydro licensing / re-licensing