Volume 130 (2015)


No. 130, 2015, 3–29

Discharge measurement and performance tests of hydraulic units in low-head small hydropower installations


In course of over half a century the test teams of the Szewalski Institute of Fluid-Flow Machinery (IMP PAN) have conducted numerous performance tests of small hydropower (SHP) installations on various occasions and motivations, including updating or establishing performance characteristics of old machines, acceptance of new units, checking or optimising the cam correlation of new or refurbished double-regulated turbines, checking performance of prototype turbines under field conditions. The discharge measurement techniques have included currentmeter, pressure-time and acoustic methods. Index tests, using the Winter-Kennedy and other differential pressure methods, as well as current-meter and acoustic techniques, have been employed quite frequently to optimise the cam curves of double-regulated machines. In one case a simplified technique based solely on the power/wicket gate opening relationship was checked. This paper discusses some techniques applied when determining the absolute efficiency and optimising cam correlations by means of absolute and index test methods. Cubic spline formulae as applied to integrate the flow velocity field in a hydrometric section are derived. Results of a discharge measurement by means of the current-meter and pressure-time method are compared as a special case study. Finally, practical recommendations addressed both to the power plant owners and the test team members are formulated. 


hydropower, hydraulic unit, performance test, discharge measurements, current-meter method, pressure-time method