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Hydro Kinetic Turbines Seminar Report

The role of renewable energy in tomorrow’s world is of great significance for the global environmental stability. Sun, wind and flowing or stored hydro (water) are considered the most common renewable energy sources for power generation. Out of these three renewable energy resources, the advantage of hydro energy is that it can continuously supply energy and can serve as a base power. The annual global hydropower production is very small as compared to the global power consumption. However the technically exploitable hydro power potential available throughout the world is far more than is actually been. The world hydro power scenario show that the technically exploitable potential of hydro energy is about 14000 TWh/year and the economically exploitable potential is about 8000 TWh/year, whereas the present global hydro power generation stands at 2800 TWh/year.

Looking at the above estimates it is clear that there is a large potential of hydropower waiting to be exploited. Further there is a large gap between technically exploitable and economically exploitable potential which creates a need for further research in hydropower technology to make it more economic and help to reduce this gap. To date most of the large hydropower sites have been exploited. However, most of the small and micro hydro sites are yet to be exploited.

Thus keeping in mind that the world currently is still heavily dependent on non- renewable energy sources (fossil fuels) such as coal, oil and natural gases, which are rapidly diminishing and becoming increasingly more expensive, the role of renewable energy has been recognized to be significantly important in sustainable future development. Hydropower is a good example of renewable energy; its present use and potential application to future power generation cannot be underestimated. River flows are part of the global hydrological cycle where oceans, rivers, lakes, exchangeable ground water and atmospheric moisture interact with each other. When the atmospheric water vapour condenses and eventually reaches the ground, its primary form of energy is potential energy of elevation. This energy is converted into kinetic form when the water mass moves along a given route, such as a river drainage basin.

In order to extract usable electrical energy, traditionally, large reservoirs are built along a river course and the static water head is used in driving large hydro turbines. In contrast, River Current Turbines (RCT), interchangeably called hydrokinetic turbines, can be built in a modular fashion for small-scale electricity generation without involving extensive civil engineering work. Hydrokinetic turbines or HKTs, i.e. water turbines operating in open flow in a manner analogous to wind turbines, are attracting increasing attention as they are able to extract energy from rivers, tidal flows and ocean currents with minimum environmental impact. In the design of HKTs, much can be learned from experience with wind turbines, although allowance must be made for the differences in operating environment, fluid density, kinematic viscosity and the possibility of ventilation and cavitation. Unlike large wind turbines which are now almost exclusively of the 3 blade horizontal axis type, no single HKT design has yet become dominant at this early stage in their evolution, and several forms of both axial and cross flow turbines have been demonstrated or proposed.

The choice of turbine rotor configuration requires considerations of a broad array of technical and economic factors. As an emerging field of energy conversion, these issues become even more dominant for hydrokinetic turbines. A general classification of water turbines based on their physical arrangements is given in Fig.1. Only the class of turbines to be used for electrical energy conversion has been considered. This list is by no means exhaustive and many of the concepts are adopted from the wind engineering domain. Based on the alignment of the rotor axis with respect to water flow, two generic classes could be formed, namely, the axial and cross flow turbines. The axial turbines have axes parallel to the fluid flow and employ propeller type rotors. On the other hand, the cross flow types encounter water flow orthogonal to the rotor axis and mostly appear as cylindrical rotating structures.

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