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The of free-flow hydro turbines in Brazil

Geraldo Lcio Tiago Filho, PhD.


Abstract This paper presents the state of the art of freeflow hydropower turbine, also known as a hydrokinetic turbine in Brazil. This kind of turbine is designed to generate electricity using only the kinetic energy of water flow in rivers and is used to generate electricity in isolated communities in the inland of Brazil. Moreover it is relevant to say that the developed technology has proved is necessary to be robust and suitable for the extremely severe conditions of the remote and isolated villages, since it is has been functioning uninterruptedly from several years with a minimum maintenance. This type of small hydrokinetic turbine typically can provide up to 2 kW of electric power, being a reliable alternative for the electrification of remote and isolated households, communities or social end-users. 1.Introduction Brazil, due to its huge watersheds network, presents a great hydropower potential evaluated in 260 GW. From this situation only 66 GW, 77 % of the Brazilian electric matrix is designated to electric energy generation. The major part of this potential is located the Amazon Region. Which rivers are torrential, run in plains what complicates its use for generation purposes. For the reason that there are vast distances between the communities, and due to the fact that the region is inhospitable and the communities are located in the margin of the rivers.. It is relevant to highlight the importance of equipment development adequate to very low head and the use of hydrokinetic turbines. The use of hydro kinetic energy The use of kinetic energy on the rivers can be considered one of the first forms that men invented to transform natural energy, not only in navigation but also in the activation of water rod. Nowadays it is still common to find water pumps driven with the use of water rods located on the rivers. UNIFEI / CERPCH The use of kinetic energy is considered to be an alternative or non-conventional form to generate electricity and has at its source a renewable energy supply. This technology is an advance in relation to environmental impacts, for it is not necessary to store potential energy in artificial lakes with the use of water dam, and so it consequently doesn't need to interfere with the natural course of rivers. Even though it is recognized the importance of this kind of hydro power utilization were usually this kind of turbine are derived from wind turbines, even if its operation is similar. 2.The Brazilian experience on kinetic turbine There are few references in Brazilian literature about the use of kinetic turbine to generate electricity and the knowledge in this field of application is equally poor. One of the first papers is a report of a prototype of a horizontal axis type turbine developed by Harwood- (1985) of the National Institute of Amazon Research (INPA). He utilized 4-meter diameter multi blade propeller wind of the type mills, which is anchored into the river to generate electricity. This equipment was experimented in rivers in the Amazon region with water velocities of 0,7 up robust enough to support an intense working regime and it did not have any protection against fluctuating debris and the mechanical transmission devices used in this system was made with chains and introduced significant losses and other operating problems. In 1999 the Hydro-mechanic Laboratory of Federal University of Itajub, LHPCH, makes a reference to a low head hydraulic central with a hydrokinetic turbine. In this paper Zulcy (1999) analyses the characteristics of vertical axis and axial turbines, of Cruz (1995) and shows that the power per unit is typically up to 2 kW for water velocities of 0,6 to 1,5 m/s. Another proposal of axial turbine was done by Alencar (2001) in LHPCH however due to lack of finan-cial resources the equipment was not built. Actually the project is passing through a re-study process and is waiting for financial sup-port liberation from fomentation

to 1,5 m/s and proved to be functional. However this equipment did not show being
Figure 4. Hydrokitnetic Turbine by Alencar (2001)

Figure 1- The kinetic energy used to drive pumps, by water rods.

Figure 2 Hydrokinetic turbine by Harwood (1985)

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institutions. The Center of Research in Electrical Energy CEPEL, (Nascimento- 1999) also did some mentions abaut a water rod adapted to generate electrical energy and a axial type turbine. This first equipment, constructed in association with a national manufacturer of water rods and the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro COPPE, has rods with width of 3 meters e diameter of 2 meters. It was mounted on floaters and had to generate 3,5 kW with water velocity of 1,5 m/s. The equipment, when in a functioning process with the placing of load, showed an accentuated reducing in the rods rotation, blocking its functioning. This project presents some innovations such as a bar in the turbine entrance and a stator at the entrance of the runner, which directs the water flow in the turbine. And that way to increase the attack angle of the blades of the propeller, optimizing the transformation of hydraulic energy. In addition to this, a suction tube is used at the outlet of the turbine and the use of cones in the center of the turbine to minimize the generating of turbulence in the water stream. This is shown in the figure 7. The generator is out of the river, putted in the extreme point of a lever which pivot is fixed in one of the river margins. The runner of the turbine is inserted in water flow bringing down the lever. See figure 8. Two models of turbines where tested and installed. Various blades compose the runner or propeller. Experiments where made, manufacturing the blades with metallic strips and also with metallic structure involved with fiberglass. According to Els (2003) the number of blades, the transversal area and its coefficient of solidity depend on the river flow. The best results for this turbine were obtained in river with a 2 m/s speed and a six blade, eighty centimeter, diameter propeller with a solidity coefficient of 30%. To control the voltage generated by the turbine, which in this case tends to vary with the water velocity and the load coupled on its grid, an electronic control system was designed. It maintains the electrical load on the grid constant in order to stabilize the grids voltage. 3.Conclusion The hydrokinetic generation groups are adequate to decentralized generation. Once they are indicated to the assistance of small isolated riverside communities and might present robust conception and ease installation and maintenance. The limitation of this kind of equipment have been being viable to low potential, and hardly will surpass 10 kW. However, its use presents vantages regarding the environment once it does not demands water storage or water stream deviation work
Bibliography ALENCAR, H. Water Current Turbine, in PCH Noticias & SHP News, year 3, number 11, ago/set/ou 2001. ELS, Rudi Henri van, CAMPOS, C., BALDUNO L, Henriques A M. Hydrokinetic Turbine for Isolated Villages, in X Encontro Latino Americano e do Caribe em Pequenos Aproveitamentos Hidroenergticos, Poos de Cldas, Minas Gerais, Brasil, 4 a 8 maio 2003, p- 298-272. NASCIMENTO, Marcos V. G. e outros. Opes gerao diesel eltrica para sistemas isolados na regio norte: elica, hidrocintica e biomassa. IV Seminrio Nacional de Produo e Transmisso de Energia Eltrica SNPTEE, Foz de Iguau, Paran, 1999. SOUZA, Zulcy de. PCH de baixa queda, Grupo de Trabajo sobre hidromecanica. 5a. reunin, IMFIA. Montevideo, Uruguay, 1999.

Figure 5. Turbine CEPEL by water rods (Nascimento 1999)

According Els (2003), CEPEL made second experience with a prototype of a axial turbine in reduced scale (5/1) with a two bladed propeller. With this prototype measures where made to evaluate the influence of a converge mouthpiece at the entrance of the propeller. Nevertheless, the use of this device did not bring great increase in velocity. According to ELS (2003), in Brazil, the most successful experience in the use of electric energy happened in the Department of Mechanical Engineering from the University of Brasilia UNB, which researching group has been studying and developing experiences with diverse prototypes of vertical and axial turbines, as shown in figures 6.

The turbine is composed of a protecting grid (1), a stator with directing blades (2), propeller (3), suction tube (4), cone for the incoming and outgoing flows (5), transmission box (6) Figure 7 Turbine axial parts made by UNB source Els (2003)

According to ELS (2003), the influence of the suction tube on the performance of the turbine was tested empirically in the field, and it was noted that there was a significant increment in the overall performance of the turbine with the suction tube. The mechanical transmission system is implemented with a set of gears submersed in oil and a stage of transmission belts. The turbine drive a 2 kVA, 220 volts AC electrical generator in 1800 rpm, generating 1 kW of electricity.

Figure 6 Prototypes made by UNB ELS (2003) Figure 8 Photos of the turbines made by UNB. Source Els(2003)

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