A Methodology for Designing a Fish-Friendly Turbine Rotor Applied to High-Power Generation

Document Type : Regular Article


Federal University of Itajubá, Itajubá, Minas Gerais, Zip Code 37500 903, Brazil



Most large hydropower facilities employing conventional hydraulic turbines, e.g., Francis, Kaplan, or Bulb turbines, etc., cause significant harm to fish, resulting in high mortality rates, during turbine operation. This results from strong injury-inducing mechanisms at the rotor, including shear stresses, pressure variations, and pressure drop through the rotor. The study outlines a methodology for designing a fish-friendly turbine that is suitable for high-power generation applications. This methodology for a hydraulic channel design within the turbine rotor was derived based on classical fundamental applications of a rotor design, supplemented by subsequent assessments that incorporate fish-friendly design parameters that have been documented in the existing literature. A spiral curve characterized by a linear angle variation between the rotor's inlet and outlet was employed to project the blade geometry. Here, the Göttingen hydrofoil series was used, while a second-order polynomial function guided the hub design. Both of these parametrizations sought to enhance the turbine's hydraulic efficiency. Minimum Absolute Pressure, Strain Rate, and Pressure Variation Rate intervals were established as assessment criteria for fish survival for certain species, as has also been previously explored in the literature. The findings were outlined in terms of hydrodynamic performance and flow behavior within the rotor. An improvement in hydraulic efficiency was observed, transitioning from a Preliminary Turbine geometry design to an Optimized Turbine Geometry design. The turbine rotor was optimized using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations, generated from a Design of Experiments (DOE). Modifications to the hydrofoil type, the sweep angle, and the trailing edge angle of the blades were all made, coupled with integrations of assessments considering fish-friendly parameters. 


Main Subjects

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