The hydroEngine is a proprietary hydropower turbine designed for high flows at low heads, generating electricity at or less than US $0.05 at projects as small as 1 MW. Civil works and installation are simplified, delivering significant cost savings.
The hydroEngine excels at low net heads between 3 and 20 meters (10 and 65 feet). Single unit capacities range from 25 kW to 1000 kW. Civil works can be greatly simplified over legacy hydro technologies, enabling much more cost-competitive projects from 25 kW to 25 MW or more.
- Civil construction costs are much lower than for Kaplan, Archimedes or bulb turbines.
- No cavitation allows for new flexibility in installation configurations
- High efficiency and flat performance curve, like a conventional Pelton turbine
- Fish-friendly due to order-of-magnitude lower pressure drops and impact velocities
- Quick and inexpensive maintenance
- Units rated to 1 MW, and 3 to 20 m (10 to 65 feet) of net head
The hydroEngine allows for multiple unique powerhouse configurations because the hydroEngine discharges down to tailwater, has no cavitation issues and is lighter than comparable hydro. The following are just a few examples of the many options. Click on the plus icon to learn more about each configuration.
Conventional Penstock Configuration
hydroEngine installations can follow configurations familiar for other low-head hydro, but with some added advantages. In this example, we show the conventional run-of-river layout where an intake and channel around the drop is constructed to direct flow to a powerhouse on the downstream bank. Because the hydroEngine does not cavitate and therefore can be situated above tailwater elevation, excavation is greatly reduced and layout options are expanded.
- Intake upstream
- Flow around drop structure
- Land-based powerhouse foundation with discharge canal
- Familiar civil works
- Greatly reduced excavation leads to big civil cost savings
- Expanded layout options reduce permitting and impacts
- Adapts to existing hydro retrofits
New In-Chute Headwall
To take greater advantage of the hydroEngine’s discharge down to tailwater, a standardized design can be used that incorporates an intake flanged up to the drop structure, and a supported penstock that leads to a powerhouse platform above the downstream flow.
- Intake directly from drop structure
- Incorporates full bypass
- Turbine on piers above tailwater
- Discharge directly down to tailwater
- Plant fully within existing channel footprint
- Little-to-no excavation
- Large civil costs savings
- Building only within the waterway footprint
- Utilizes many off-the-shelf, modular civil components
Two features of the hydroEngine facilitate a floating powerhouse configuration with a potential large additional reduction in civil costs. The same discharge down to tailwater that enables other flexibility also allows for placement on a standard marine construction spud barge or floating dock. The Linear Pelton’s nozzle enters the turbine from the bottom and this allows for a cost-effective penstock configuration suspended in the tailwater.
- Intake directly from dam outlet or via siphon
- Off-the-shelf piping sections deliver flow to powerhouse
- Standard construction barges or floating dock platform above tailwater
- Modularity reduces civil costs
- Excavation costs almost eliminated
- Modular, off-the-shelf components reduce equipment costs
- Only impact to channel bed are spuds/piers
- Fully within channel footprint
- Minimal contact with drop structure
Enter the design head, design flow, and capacity factor for your project. The project calculator will suggest one possible combination of hydroEngines for your site.
Your Site Estimate
Plant Design Head is an estimate of the pressure at the turbine inlet, caused by the change in height between headwater and tailwater.
Plant Design Flow is an estimate of the maximum flow for which your hydropower plant is designed. It may be less than the maximum flow of your canal, stream, or river, and is generally a balance between power output, cost and environmental considerations such as minimum in-stream flow requirements.
Capacity Factor is an estimate of the ratio of the plant's actual output over a period of time (usually a year), to its potential output if it were possible for it to operate at full nameplate capacity continuously over the same period of time. Typical capacity factors for hydro power are between 40 and 60%. Reference: US EIA
Generation is an estimate only based on rough input parameters. Actual site results will vary.
To learn more about a hydroEngine configuration for your project