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Research and development to establish a commercially viable locally-constructed Turgo turbine for low-cost renewable electricity generation in rural Nepal

StatusFinished
Period1/08/1731/07/19

Description

Many villages in Nepal have limited access to the energy resources. They are dependent on either firewood or expensive oil imports which are often beyond their means. Only 85% of Nepalese has access to electricity (World Bank), 15% benefitting from decentralized generation systems; the national grid progress into remote rural locations is slow due to technical difficulties, difficult terrain and high costs. Some remote communities with suitable water resources can employ micro-hydropower installations to produce power, but there are still large numbers of communities that neither have the conditions required for a high-head micro-hydropower scheme nor can be electrified through the national grid. Pico-hydropower has been exploited in many places of Nepal as cost effective and reliable power supplies for off-grid, stand-alone loads.

Nepal has extensively used the Pelton and Crossflow turbine designs over the past 20 years, with Nepali manufacturers able to modify the designs to allow for variations in head and flow rate conditions. However, there are other designs available which may be more efficient, robust and suitable for different sites. One such option is the Turgo turbine, which has been utilized across a range of heads and flow rates, proving very adaptable to changes in environmental conditions. However, the Turgo turbine is often considered unable to be manufactured by local workshops, requiring more complex manufacturing processes. This project aims to investigate the Turgo turbine, by introducing it to a pilot site in Nepal, whilst concurrently developing a runner design able to be manufactured by workshops in Nepal.

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