A hydro turbine is engineered to utilise the mechanical action of water to produce electrical energy. As opposed to fossil fuels, hydroelectric power is completely sustainable and associated with only a minimal impact upon the environment. It is still important to appreciate the basics of hydroelectric turbine design in order to appreciate just how far this technology has come in recent years. Let us therefore take a quick look at some of the primary principles and features of a typical hydro turbine design.

The Basic Purpose of a Hydro Turbine

Hydroelectric turbines are designed to transform the energy associated with moving water into mechanical energy. This is accomplished through the use of a series of plastic or metal blades which are connected to a central shaft. These vanes are placed at specific angles. As water passes through, it causes the entire apparatus to rotate (similar to a jet engine). This kinetic rotation is subsequently sent to a nearby generator. The generator thereafter converts mechanical energy to electrical power. The power can then be passed on to the public via typical transmission lines. The size and number of turbines equates to the power output of the plant itself.

Design Variations

While the basic principle behind this type of energy generation is straightforward, it is important to mention that the actual hydroelectric turbine design can vary. For example, reaction turbines employ a change in water pressure to generate electrical power. Impulse turbines instead utilise a series of high-pressure nozzles. These nozzles will direct pressurised water towards spoon-shaped appendages located on the turbine. The central shaft then begins to rotate; providing the mechanical force required for a generator to produce electricity. Several additional variants can be found within these two classes such as:

  • Pelton water turbines
  • Turgo water turbines
  • Kaplan designs
  • Cross-flow configurations

The main takeaway point is that all hydro turbine designs are engineered to provide a reliable source of electricity by using the power of moving water. Please feel free to speak with one of our representatives at Hallidays Hydropower International if you are curious to know which solution is the most relevant for your needs.