Suppressing the Vortex Rope Oscillation and Pressure Fluctuations by the Air Admission in Propeller Hydro-Turbine Draft Tube

Document Type : Regular Article


1 Department of Energy and Power Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing, 100084, China

2 Huaneng Liaoning Clean Energy CO. Ltd, Shenyang, 110167, China

3 Huaneng Clean Energy Research Institute, Beijing, 102209, China



For the purpose of automatic generation control (AGC), a portion of the propeller hydro-turbine units in China is adjusted to operate within a restricted range of 75%-85% load using computer-controlled AGC strategies. In engineering applications, it has been observed that when a propeller hydro-turbine unit operates under off-design conditions, a large-scale vortex rope would occur in the draft tube, leading to significant pressure fluctuations. Injecting air into the draft tube to reduce the amplitude of pressure fluctuations is a common practice, but its effectiveness has not been proven on propeller hydro-turbine units. In this study, a CFD model of a propeller hydro-turbine was established, and 15 cases with different guide vane openings (GVO, between 31° and 45°) under unsteady conditions were calculated and studied. Two air admission measures were introduced to suppress the vortex rope oscillation in the draft tube and to mitigate pressure fluctuations.  The reason for the additional energy loss due to air admission was then explained by the entropy production theory, and its value was quantified. This study points out that when injecting air, it is necessary to first consider whether the air will obstruct the flow in the draft tube. Finally, based on simulation and experimental data under various load conditions, pressure fluctuation analysis (based on fast Fourier transform, FFT) was conducted to assess the effectiveness of air admission measures. This study can provide an additional option for balancing unit efficiency and stability when scheduling units using an AGC strategy.


Main Subjects

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