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2.3 Turbine selection

Types of turbine

Hydropower turbines use water pressure to rotate its blades and generate energy. Selecting the appropriate type of turbine depends primarily on available head and less so on available flow rate.  The three primary types of turbines are: the Pelton turbine, for high heads; the Francis turbine, for low to medium heads; and the Kaplan turbine for a wide range of heads (see Figure 2.3a below). Several other types of turbines exist on the market, described below.

Figure 2.3a. Three main types of water turbines: (A) Pelton wheel; (B) Francis turbine; (C) Kaplan turbine. (The Encyclopedia of Alternative Energy)

Three main types of turbines


Click on the following links to learn more about the different types of turbines.


Folsom turbine selection

Recall from the previous activity that Folsom powerplant possesses up to 332 ft (101m) of head when the reservoir is full, and only 292 ft (89m) of head during the flood season. Let's assume that the plant facilities require 60 MW for daily operations, while more energy is required for additional pumping in the summer. Using this information, along with what you've learned about different turbines, what type of turbine(s) might you suggest for Folsom dam? Choose up to three turbines that meet the operational criteria at Folsom 



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