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New Prototype of a Kinetic Turbine for Artificial Channels

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In the actual context of Swiss nuclear phase-out strategy, harvesting the extensive potential of small hydropower (< 10 MW), in particular on existing infrastructure, is a priority. In this framework, a new kinetic turbine has been jointly developed by the HES-SO Valais//Wallis and Stahleinbau Gmbh in Switzerland, to harvest the kinetic energy of free-surface flows in existing facilities such as run-of-river tailrace channels, headrace tunnels, or water treatment stations. The hydraulic design of the ducted turbine has been obtained by flow numerical simulations. The objective of the present research project is to build the first prototype of 1 kW as well as an open-air platform and to test it in a tailrace channel. The chosen pilot site is the Lavey run-of-river hydropower plant’s tailrace channel, installed in the Western side of Switzerland on the Rhône River. The final purpose is to confirm the hydraulic efficiency results obtained by simulation and the electromechanical concept in view of a product industrialization phase to tap this potential in Switzerland and elsewhere. The global concept of the variable speed prototype, including the actual hydraulic and mechanical design, the electrical generator and the driving electronics as well as the integrated instrumentation are first presented. The specially designed open-air testing platform to test the turbine in the channel is also introduced. Finally, the efficiency of the turbine is optimized using steady pressurized numerical simulations and assessed in case of unsteady homogeneous multiphase turbulent simulations in the tailrace channel of Lavey. A power coefficient higher than 80% is reached.


  • Kinetic turbine
  • Small hydro
  • Free-surface flow
  • Numerical simulation
  • Prototype

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-981-10-7218-5_69
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The present study is carried out in the framework of a Pilot & Demonstrator Project financially supported by the Swiss Federal Office of Energy, The Ark Foundation for Innovation in Valais, Switzerland and the Swiss Competence Center for Energy Research—Supply of Electricity. The authors would like to address a special thanks to the “Services Industriels de Lausanne” and “Usine de Lavey” industrial partners for their approval and technical support in using the tailrace channel of the Lavey power plant and Swiss-SIT for their support in the risk analysis of this project.

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Correspondence to Cécile Münch-Alligné .

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Münch-Alligné, C., Richard, S., Gaspoz, A., Hasmatuchi, V., Brunner, N. (2018). New Prototype of a Kinetic Turbine for Artificial Channels. In: Gourbesville, P., Cunge, J., Caignaert, G. (eds) Advances in Hydroinformatics . Springer Water. Springer, Singapore.

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