Table of Contents
ISRN Mechanical Engineering
Volume 2012, Article ID 846206, 10 pages
Research Article

Low-Head Energy Conversion: A Conceptual Design and Laboratory Investigation of a Microtubular Hydro Propeller

Dipartimento di Ingegneria Civile, CEHIDRO, Instituto Superior Técnico, 1049-001 Lisbon, Portugal

Received 20 October 2011; Accepted 23 November 2011

Academic Editor: S. W. Chang

Copyright © 2012 Helena M. Ramos et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Low-head microhydro systems for energy production are becoming accepted because of oil crises and new advances in their design and efficiencies. As this is still a new area for development and experimentation, it is important to test and validate the optimal conditions and the hydrodynamic behaviour of such systems under different conditions. The aim of this paper is to present a turbine design validation practise, which researchers and equipment manufactures can use for the hydrodynamic behaviour analysis of new low-head turbines prior to production and application. Laboratory experimental tests and advanced CFD numerical analysis are described for the flow behaviour analysis of a new prototype microtubular propeller. Laboratory experimental results are presented and used for the evaluation of the turbine performance curves. Comparisons between experimental and CFD results are also presented. Finally, an assessment of the hydrodynamic behaviour is made for a scaled model application, using the theory of turbomachine similarity.