Energies, Vol. 15, Pages 9052: Geometrical Optimization of Pelton Turbine Buckets for Enhancing Overall Efficiency by Using a Parametric ModelA Case Study: Hydroelectric Power Plant “Illuchi N2” from Ecuador (Energies)
In Ecuador, the implementation of hydroelectric power plants has had a remarkable growth in the energy sector due to its high efficiency, low environmental impact, and opportunities to generate employment. One of the sectors with the greatest benefits from this type of energy has been the rural sector, where several small-scale hydroelectric plants (0.5 MW–10 MW) have been installed, usually with Pelton turbines. Although these turbines are highly efficient, one of the challenges is to obtain the optimal geometry of the bucket to take advantage of the greatest amount of energy from the water, avoiding the separation of the fluid. In this context, this study focuses on the development of an analytical and iterative methodology that allows for the determining of the appropriate dimensions of the buckets to achieve maximum turbine efficiency. For that, a parametric model has been proposed considering the dimensions and main angles of the bucket, the net hydraulic head and the working flow, as well as the power losses. The results of the model have been validated by means of CFD and by contrasting the experimental data obtained from the “Illuchi N2” Hydroelectric Power Plant in Ecuador, and it is concluded that it is possible to improve the turbine efficiency by up to 4%.