Numerical Methods for Fluid Dynamical Optimization
of Hydro Power Plants
Professor Helmut Jaberg
Institute for Hydraulic Fluid Machinery
University of Technology Graz, Austria
A – 8010 Graz
Abstract: Hydro power plants of any size –
be it large or small hydro - are always quite complicated arrangements as they
cannot be designed for a definite duty point of operation but in fact the duty
point varies strongly with the flow rate and in many cases also with the
pressure head available. The optimization of these plants has always been a
challenge to the design engineers from all faculties involved, in the course
of this presentation mechanical or civil engineering are concerned.
Hydro power plants resemble each other as the basic set-up is always similar:
Water flows from an upper reservoir to a lower reservoir and in between we
find components like intake buildings, shut-off valves of different kind in
different places, head race, moated castle, penstock, the turbine(s) and
suction pipe. But due to the mentioned more or less - and sometimes extremely
– variable duty points the dimensioning and the set-up in detail are
remarkably different from on plant to another – and so is the stationary and
Both the specific arrangement as well as the varying duty points often cause a
number of problems as any hydro power plant exist exactly once and in so far
is always a prototype thus often causing unforeseeable difficulties.
On the example of a number of components fluid dynamical optimizations by
means of numerical methods are outlined for intakes, valves and different
turbine designs. Specific problems as they can frequently occur in hydro power
and remedy to solve the problems are described. On the example of a cavitating
Francis runner a further trouble shooting method together with a new way for
cavitation simulation will be presented.
Brief Biography of the Speaker:
Prof. Jaberg holds the chair for Hydraulic Fluid Machinery at the University
of Technology Graz, Austria where he and his team look both after the
machinery equipment as well as after instationary behaviour of full systems.
In parallel Prof. Jaberg works with his business consultancy and together with
his partners on management of innovations, strategy and process optimization.
Prior to these engagements Prof. Jaberg served as Vice President General
Industry for KSB AG and Director Product Development in the French subsidiary
of the same company. Prof Jaberg graduated from the University of Technology
Munich and holds a PhD/Dr.-Ing. from Stuttgart University.