You are on page 1of 93


UNIT – 5 Hydro-Electric Plants:

Storage and pondage, flow duration and mass curves, hydrographs, Low, medium
and high head plants, pumped storage plants, Penstock, water hammer, surge
tanks, gates and valves, power house, general layout. A brief description of some
of the important Hydel Installations in India.
7 Hours
 The development of the hydroelectric power plant plays an very
important role in the development of country.
 The power generated by the water is cheapest as it is natural source of
 Hydro electric generation plants help for irrigation and flood control
in addition to power generation.
 Nearly 30 % of the total power of the world is generated using hydro
 In hydroelectric power plants the energy of water is utilized to drive
the turbine which , in turn, runs the generator to produce electricity.
 Kinetic or potential energy of water is used to drive the turbine
 Kinetic energy is a function of velocity and mass of flowing water
 Potential energy is a function of difference in head of water
 In either case continuous availability of water is must
 To achieve this water collected in natural lakes or reservoirs at high
altitudes are utilized or artificially stored by constructing the dams
across the rivers
 Rainfall is a major source of water
P = .g.Q.H
The electrical energy produced in KWh can be written in the form of
W = 1000 x 9.81 x Q x H x  x t
= 9.81 x Q x H x  x t KWh
Where ‘’ is the efficiency of turbine generator assembly and ‘t’ is the time
in hours.
 The generating capacity of the hydroelectric power plant is
dependent on the quantity of the water and potential head
 The site is always to the highest available head
Hydrological Cycle

P – all water that falls from the atmosphere

( rain fall + snow fall )

R – portion of the rain fall that available on the earth surface

E – Conversion of water into vapors entering into the atmosphere
T - Absorption of water form plants through roots and release the
same through their leaves
Storage and pondage:
• The flow rate of stream varies considerably with the time.

• In rainy season stream is in floods it carries huge quantity of water as

compared to other times of the year when quantity of water carried by
it is considerably less.

• However the demands for the power do not correspond to such

variations of the natural flow of stream

• A such arrangement in the form of storage and pondage of water is

required for the regulation of the flow of water so as it make it
available in requisite quantity to meet the power demand at a given
• Storage may be defined as storing of considerable amount of excess run
off during seasons of surplus flow for use in dry seasons.

• This accomplished by constructing the dam across the stream at suitable

site and building a storage reservoir on the upstream side of the dam.

• Storage increases the capacity of the river over an extended period of 6

months as much as 2 years.

• The following figure shows the location of the storage with respect to the
power house.

Storage reservoir


Hydro power house

• Pondage may be defined as a regulating body of water in the form of a
relatively small pond or reservoir provided at the plant.

• The Pondage is used to regulate the variable water flow to meet power
demand. It takes care of short term fluctuations which may occur due to

a) Sudden increase or decrease of load on the turbine.

b) Sudden changes in the flow of water, say by breaches in the

conveyance channel

c) Change of water demand by turbines and the natural flow of water

from time to time.
• Pondage increases the capacity of a river over a short time
• The following figure shows the location of the pondage with respect to
the power house.


Power channel

Intake Weir

Hydro power house

Tail race
Fore bay to provide

Classification of hydroelectric power plants

1) According to availability of head.

a) High head power plants
b) Medium head power plants
c) Low head power plants

2) According to nature of load

a) Base load plants
b) Peak load plants.

3) According to the quantity of water available.

a) Pump storage plants
b) Storage type plants
c) Mini and micro hydel plants
d) Plant with pondage
e) Plant without pondage.
High head plants

• In high head plants operating head is 100 m and above.

• Water is usually stored in lakes on high mountains during the
rainy season .
• The rate of water discharge from the water is maintained at such
rate that water must available throughout the year.
 The above figure shows the high head power plant layout.
 In order to maintain the safety of the dam surplus water is discharged
through the spillway.
 Flow is controlled by the head gates at the tunnel intake .
 Tunnel is constructed through the mountain with surge chamber at near
exit. .
 Butterfly valves are used to regulate the water in the penstocks , and gate
valves at the turbines. This type of the plant can also constructed under
 Pelton wheel is the common prime mover used in the high head power
Medium head power plants

• These plants operate under the heads varying from 30 m to 100 m.

• Forebay is constructed at the beginning of the penstock serves as
water reservoir.
• This type of the plant commonly uses Francis turbine as the prime
• In such plants water is carried in open canals from main reservoir to
the fore bay and then to the power house through the penstocks.
• The forebay itself works as the surge tank in this plant.
Low head power plant

 In low head power plants working head is less than 30 m.

 A dam is constructed across a river and a sideway stream diverges from the
river at the dam.
 Over this stream power house is constructed. Later this channel joins the
river further down stream.
 This type of plant uses vertical shaft Francis turbine or Kaplan turbine.
Base load plants:
These plants supply constant power to the grid without any interruption.
 They work throughout the day. Base load plants are often remote
controlled with which least staff required for such plants
 Run –of-river plants without pondage may sometimes work as base load
plant but the capacity is less.
Peak load plants:
They supply power only during the certain hours of the day when the load is
more than the average.
 Thermal power plants work with hydel plants to meet the base load and
peak load during various seasons.
 Some of such plants supply the power during the average load but
also supply peak load
 The run-off river plants may be made for peak load by providing
Pump storage plants
• Water after working in the turbine stored in the tail race pond.
• During low load periods this water is pumped back in to the head
reservoir using an extra power available. This water can be again used
for generating power during peak load periods.
• Pumping of water may be done seasonally or daily depending upon the
conditions of the site and the nature of the load on the plant.
• Such plants are usually interconnected with steam or diesel engine
plants so that off peak capacity of interconnecting stations is used in
pumping water and the same is used during the peak load periods.
Advantages of Pumped storage plants

• There will be an increase in the plant capacity with low cost.

• Operating efficiency of the plant is high.
• There is an improvement in the load factor.
• The hydroelectric plant becomes partly independent of stream flow

• In this type of plants reversible turbine pump units are used. These
units can be used as turbine while generating power and as pump
while pumping water to storage. With the use of reversible turbine
pump sets, additional capital investment on pump and its motor can be
saved .
Essential elements of the hydroelectric power plants

• Catchment area
• Dam
• Reservoir
• Spill ways
• Penstock
• Surge tanks
• Draft tubes
• power house
• Switch yard for power transmission.
• Catachment area:
The whole area behind the dam draining into a stream or river across which
the dam has been constructed is called the catchment area.
• Dam:A dam performs the following two basic functions.
1) It develops reservoir of desired capacity to store water
2) It builds up a head for power generation.
Various types of the dams are used depending on the requirement and
geographical area.
1) Gravity dams: These dams are constructed in stone masonry or in
2) Earth dams: For small projects of up to 70 m height , dams constructed of
earth fill or embankment are used.
3) Rock fill dams: It is made up of all sizes and has a trapezoidal shape with a
wide base, having water tight section to reduce seepage.
• Spill ways: When water level in the reservoir rises, the stability of the dam is
 To relive the reservoir of this excess water, a structure is provided in the
body of a dam or close to it.
 This safe guarding structure is called spillway.
 Variety of spill ways are used example Overall spillway , trough spillway,
Side channel spillway, saddle spillway, Shaft spillway and Siphon
• It is a closed conduit used for supplying water to the turbine from forebay
under pressure.
• Penstocks are used where slope is too great for canal . Surge tanks or other
measures are necessary to prevent damage in closed conduits due to abnormal
• The regulating forebay has a small storage capacity to care for minor flow
fluctuations .
• It has an automatic spillway to discharge overflow when turbine shut down
• In different ways we can arrange to supply water to the turbines.
 One penstock for one turbine. In such a case water is supplied
independently to each turbine from a separate penstock
 Single penstock for the entire plant. In this case penstock should
have as many branches as the number of hydraulic turbines.

 Multiple penstocks but each penstock should supply water to at least

two hydraulic turbines.
Penstock materials and their suitability.
 Reinforced concrete:
These penstocks are suitable up to 18 m head Beyond this pressure
concrete can not with stand the pressure.

 Wood stave penstocks:

In this type of penstocks treated wood is placed side by side to form
cylinder and held together by the steel hoops. These penstocks are
used for heads up to about 75 m.

 Steel penstocks:
Penstocks made up of steel can be used for any head, with the
thickness varying with the pressure and diameter. The strength of the
penstocks can be expressed as horse power it can carry.
• High pressure penstocks are fabricated in 6 to 8 meters lengths in order to
minimize transportation difficulties. Welded joints are used instead of riveted
joints because of the higher frictional losses in latter case. Penstocks are
generally supported by concrete piers cadles., although they may be laid on
or in ground.
Water hammer
• Water hammer is defined as the change in pressure rapidly above or below
normal pressure caused by sudden changes in the rate of water flow through
the pipe according to the demand of prime mover.

• When the gates supplying the water to the turbines are suddenly closed
owing to the action of governor, when the load on the generator is suddenly
reduced, there is sudden rise in pressure in the upstream of the pipe
supplying the water to the turbine.

• This sudden change of pressure and its fluctuations in the pipe line during
reduction of load on the turbine is known as water hammer.
• The turbine gates suddenly opens because turbine needs more water due to
increased demand on the generator and therefore, during increased load
conditions , water has to rush through the pipe and there is tendency to cause a
vacuum in the pipe supplying the water.

• The pipe supplying the water must have the capacity with stand variations in
the water pressures. The water hammer can occurs at all points in the penstock
between the forebay or surge tank and the turbines
Surge tank
• Surge tank is open reservoir or tank in which the water level rises or falls to
reduce the pressure swings so that they are not transmitted in full to a closed
circuit. Important functions of the surge tank are

1) It reduces the distances between the free water surface and turbine thereby
reducing the water hammer effect of the penstock and also protect the up
stream tunnel from high pressure rises.

2) It serves as the supply tank to the turbine when the water in the pipe is
accelerating during increased load conditions as a storage tank when the water
is decelerating during the reduced load conditions.

3) It acts as relief valve when ever there is variations in water pressure in the
Surge tank should be located as near to the power house as is feasible to reduce
the length of the penstock thereby reducing water hammer effect. It is generally
located at the junction of tunnel and penstock in order reduce its height

Types of surge tanks.

1) Simple surge tank.
2) Inclined surge tank.
3) Expansion chamber surge tank.
4) Restricted orifice surge tank.
1) Simple surge tank.
• The simple surge tank is cylindrical in shape and attached to
the penstock .
• It is always desirable to place the surge tank over the
ground surface on the penstock pipe.
• If suitable site is not available the height of the tank should
be increased with the help of a support.
• This type of the surge tank is uneconomical due to its large
size and its action is also sluggish as compared with other
types of tanks.
• It is most expensive and seldom used in preference to
other types.
2) Inclined surge tank.
• When a surge tank is inclined at an angle to the horizontal its effective
water surface area increases and therefore , lesser height surge tanks are
required of the same diameter if tit is inclined or lesser diameter tank is
required for the same height.

• It is more costlier than the ordinary type as construction is difficult ant it is

seldom used unless the topographical conditions are in favour.
3) Expansion chamber surge tank.
• This type of surge tank has an expansion tank at top and expansion gallery
at the bottom.

• The upper expansion chamber must be above the maximum reservoir level
and bottom gallery must be below the lowest steady running level in the
surge tank.

• In addition the intermediate shaft should have minimum diameter.

4) Restricted orifice surge tank.
• It is also called throttled surge tank.
• The orifice provided helps in creating appreciable friction loss when the
water is flowing to or from the tank.
• When the load on the turbine is reduced , the surplus water passes through
the throttle and a retarding head equal to the loss due to throttle is built up in
the conduit.
• The size of the throttle can be designed for any designed retarding head.
• The effect of throttle is very limited except at large change of lad because
the additional frictional loss is proportional to the square of the velocity in
the port.
• The change in the velocity will not be considerable unless the change of
load is not large.
• It is very rapid in action, but the pressure rises are also equally rapid ,
therefore, it is less effective than simple surge tank in relieving the water
• The main disadvantage of this type of the surge tank is that , considerable
portion of water hammer pressure is transmitted directly in to the low
pressure conduit..
Draft tube
• is a divergent tube, one end of which is connected to the
outlet of the turbine and other end is immersed well below
the tailrace (Water. level). The major function of the draft
tube is to increase the pressure from the inlet to outlet of
the draft tube.

• In other words it reduces, the KE of water from the out let

of the turbine converted onto useful pressure energy.
Types of Draft tubes:
• Draft tube allows the turbine to be set above the tailrace to
facilitate inspection and maintenance and diffuser action
regains the major portion of the kinetic energy or velocity
head at runner outlet, which would otherwise go waste as an
exit loss.

• The draft tube can be straight conical tube , or an elbow

type is more common.
Power house:
• A power house should have a stable structure and its
layout should be such that adequate space is provided
around the equipment for convenient dismantling and
repair. The power house provides the space for following

• i) Hydraulic turbines ii) Electric generators iii) Governors

iv) Gate valves v) Relief valves vi) Water circulation
pumps vii) Air duct viii) Switch board and instruments ix)
Storage batteries x) Cranes.
Advantages of Hydel Plants:
1) Operating cost of the plant including auxiliaries is extremely low.
2) Maintenance cost of the plant is less.
3) Less labour is required to operate the plant..
4) No nuisance of smoke , exhaust gases, soot etc exists in this case.
5) Plant life is much longer than that of the thermal power plant.
6) Less number of skilled workers are required.
7) In addition to the power generation these plants are also used for
flood control and irrigation purposes.
8) No fuel charges.

1) Initial cost of the plant including the cost of dam is high.

2) Power production may be discontinued in time of drought. Thus power

plant is not reliable.

3) The suitable sites are always away from the load center and hence
transmission losses are more.

4) Vast area of fertile ,agriculture and forest land may be submerged.

5) The plant construction time is long.

Measurement of Run-Off

R = P – L = Rc + Rs m3/s
R = Run-off
P = Precipitation
L = All Losses
Rs = Run off over surface
Rc = Run-off reaching the catchment area

Methods of measuring the run-off

• Use of rainfall records

• Run-off formulae
• Stream gauging
• Total Discharge observation (hydrographs)
Use of rainfall records

From rainfall record available for longer period and run-off coefficient
R = P . Cr
Where, Cr = 0.5 – 0.8
This method is used for small catchment areas

Run-off formulae
By observation and experiments
• Khosla’s formula R = P – 4.811T
Where, P = annual rainfall in mm
R = Annual run-off in mm
T = Mean temperature in C

• Inglis formula R = 0.88P – 304.8 ---------- for hilly region

R = (P – 177.8).P/2540 ---- for plain region
• Lacey’s formula R = P / 1 +(3084F/PS)
P = mansoon rainfall
R = mansoon run-off
F = mansoon duration factor
S = catchment area factor
Hydro graph

• Hydro graph is plot of discharge through a river versus time for specified

• The time period for discharge hydrograph may be day, week, or month. Each
hydro graph has a reference to a particular site.

• Besides the variation in flow indicated by a hydrograph , it also indicates the

power available from the stream at different times of the day, week, month or
A hydro graph also helps in the studies of the effect of storage on flow. We can
obtain the following information from the hydrographs.

• Rate of flow at any instant during the duration period

• Total volume of flow up to that instant .

• The mean annual run off or mean run off .

• Maximum and minimum run –off or mean run off for each month.

• The maximum rate of run – off during the floods duration and frequency of
the flood.

Rising limb Falling limb

Discharge in m3/sec

Flow duration curve

• A flow duration curve is another useful form to represent the run off data for
the given time.

• This curve is plotted between flow available during a period versus the
fraction of time.

• The flow may be expressed in the form cubic meters per second per week or
any other convenient unit of time knowing the available head of water , total
energy of flow can be computed.
Q,m3/ s

Time %
Flowrate m/ s


Flow duration curve

90 Flow duration line
15 B
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100

Percentage of time
Mass curve:

The mass curve is a plot of cumulative volume of water that can be stored
from stream flow versus time in days, weeks, or months.

Cumulative discharge

Problem 1)
At a particular site ( in millions of m3) of a river in 12 months from January
to December are 30,25,20,0,10,50,80,100,110,65,45 and 30 respectively.

i) Draw hydro graph on the graph sheet and find the average monthly flow.

ii) Estimate the power developed in MW if the available head is 90 m and the
overall efficiency of generation is 87.4% assume each month 30 days.

• Soln: H = 90 m, o = 87.4%
Month Discharge in Month Discharge in
millions of cubic millions of cubic
meter / month meter / month

January 30 July 80

February 25 August 100

March 20 September 110

April 0 October 65

May 10 November 45

June 50 December 30
Discharge in millions of cubic meter


70 Average flow
60 47.083




• Average discharge for the flow, Qav
= (30+25+20+0+10+50+80+100+110+65+45+30) / 12
= 47.0834 millions of cubic meter /month = 47.083 x 106 / ( 30 x 24 x 3600)
=18.165 m3 /s

The power developed, in MW

P = o g Qav H /106
= 0.874 .1000. 90 / 10 6
= 14.017 MW
Problem 2)
The mean monthly discharge for 12 months at a particular site of river is
tabulated below
i) Draw hydro graph and flow duration curve for the above and find
average monthly flow.

ii) Determine the power available at mean flow of water if available head is
80 m at the site and overall efficiency of generation is 80%. Take 30 days in
a month.

Soln: H = 80 m, o = 80%
Month Discharge in Month Discharge in
millions of cubic millions of cubic
meter / month meter / month

April 500 October 2000

May 200 November 1500

June 1500 December 1500

July 2500 January 1000

August 3000 February 800

September 2400 March 600


Discharge in millions of cubic meter / month



Average flow
1200 1458.33 millions of cubic meter / month



• Average monthly flow, Qav =
(200+1500+2500+3000+2400+2000+1500+1500+1000+800+600) /12
= 1458.33 x 106 m3 / month
= 1458.33 x 106 m3 / (30x24x3600)
= 562.63 m3 /s
Flow duration curve

Discharge in millions of Total number of months Percentage time

cubic meter / month during which flow is
200 12 100
500 11 91.7
600 10 83.3
800 9 75
1000 8 66.7
1500 7 58.3
2000 4 33.3
2400 3 25
2500 2 16.7
3000 1 8.3
Flow duration curve

Discharge in millions of cubic meter / month






10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
Time (%)
ii) Power developed in MW,

P = o g Qav H /106
= 0.80 x 1000 x 9.81x 562.63 x 80 / 106
= 353.24 MW
Problem 3)
Draw the hydrograph and flow duration curve for the following data
Month Discharge in
1 600
2 400
3 200
4 100
5 200
6 800
7 2200
8 2800
9 1600
10 600
11 400
12 300
Points to be noted for drawing flow duration curve

• Write down the discharges in ascending order, with non repeating values
• Write down the number of months in descending order, starting from
• With repeating values ,skip the month numbers
• Express time period in percentage
• then plot the graph
Problem 4)
The run-off data of a river at a particular site is tabulated below
Month Q in millions of m3/
i) Draw the hydrograph and find out the mean
J 80
F 50
M 40
ii) Draw the flow duration curve
A 20
M 0
iii) Find out the power in MW at mean flow if the
J 100
head available is 100 m and the overall efficiency is
J 150
Take each month of 30 days
A 200
S 220
O 120
N 100
D 80
Problem 5)

Calculate the power developed in MW from hydro-electric power plant with the
following data:
Available head = 50 m
Catchment area = 250 sq. km
Average annual rainfall = 120 cm
Rainfall lost due to evaporation = 20%
Turbine efficiency = 82%
Generator efficiency = 84%
Head lost in penstock = 4%
Problem 6)

The following data is supplied for a hydro-electric power station

Available head = 220 m
Catchment area = 100 sq. km
Annual rainfall = 1200 mm
Load factor = 45%
Yield factor to allow for run-off and evaporation loss = 55%
Power plant efficiency = 72%

Calculate: i) Average power produced

ii) Capacity of the power plant
Problem 7)

The following run-off data is collected for twelve months at particular site, Draw the
mass curve

Month Flow per month, Month Flow per month,

millions of m3 millions of m3
1 50 7 95
2 25 8 20
3 10 9 15
4 40 10 100
5 5 11 85
6 5 12 40
Problem 8)

The data for a weekly flow at a particular site is given below for 12 weeks
With the help of mass curve , find the size of the reservoir has been built

Week Weekly flow, Week Weekly flow,

m3/s m3/s

1 3000 7 600
2 2000 8 2250
3 2700 9 4000
4 1000 10 2000
5 750 11 1500
6 500 12 1000
Problem 9)

What is the volume of rainfall in day-sec-metres if 6.5 cm rainfall occurs over an

area of 2400 sq. km ?

Solution : Total rainfall = 2400 x (1000)2 x 6.5 /100

= 156 x106 m3
rainfall in day-sec-metres = 156 x 106 /24x 60 x 60
= 1805.56
Problem 10)

A lake behind a Dam has a capacity of 30000 km2-m. For how many days would
this water supply be sufficient to a city of 106 population if daily requirement per
person is 500 litres

Solution : daily requirement = population x per person consumption

= 106 x 0.5
= 500 x 103 m3
Available water in Dam = 30000 x 106 m3
= 60,000 days
Problem 11)
A storage type power plant having a catchment area of 200 sq. km and annual
rainfall of 100 cm is used to generate power . 80% of the total run-off is available
for power generation. The mean head available is 80 m. assuming an overall
efficiency of generation of 75%, find the capacity of the plant. If the average period
of working the power plant is 18 hrs per day, find the energy generated in kWh per
year .

Ans : Capacity = 2984.2 kW: Q = 5.07 m3/s

kWh/year = 19.61 x 106
Major Hydropower generating units