Pelton turbines have been used for harvesting clean energy from water jet for over 100 years. The wide range of their applicability and the robustness with minimal onsite monitoring and carbon free energy production makes them one of the most desired hydro turbines for renewable energy production. Pelton turbine buckets are subject to complex turbulent multiphase flows with free surfaces, thus received lot of attention from Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) researchers to visualise the flow patterns. In addition, the bucket geometry optimisation has been a prevalent research stream using analytical and graphical methods. Both of these investigations fields have resulted in significant improvement in the performance of the Pelton Turbine system. However, the design investigations for each feature are carried out independently due to the complexity in incorporating large number of design parameters. Thus, analysing the complex fluid flow on each pre-optimized design was rather challenging due to expensive computational needs of CFD and limited manufacturing possibilities. Today, development of accurate and inexpensive CFD models and innovative manufacturing technology such as rapid prototyping has made complex freeform shape possible to simulate and manufacture. Hence, any bucket designs disregarded in optimisation on the basis of manufacturing feasibility can now be possible to manufacture and is worth investigating. This will require the combination of CFD and design optimisation field of investigation with novel analysis approach. This paper examines these fields of studies with the view to establish the background for such novel approach. This approach could be a foundation for design optimization of turbomachinery or any reaction surface leading to increased production of renewable and sustainable energy from existing resources.
- Pelton turbine
- Computational fluid dynamics