Water Turbine Scoping Study

Water power potential

Before we can start any work on a potential water turbine scheme we must first find the potential power of the scheme. This is achieved by measuring the 'Flow & Head'. As can be seen on the picture here, the head is the measurement between the intake water surface and the water turbine jet, or in the case of a low head turbine, the water level of the tail race.

Once we know the head & flow of the potential scheme we can then start putting together the design of the system. Water turbines are not a mass-market item and as such can be quite expensive and often there is no single turbine to suit a particular site. This presents a dilemma between cost and output power

If the scheme is a large one, 500kW or greater, then the turbine can often be designed and built to suit the site. However, micro-hydro schemes have to make do with what's already on the market by using a larger than necessary turbine which costs a little more, or using multiple turbines to achieve the output power required or set by the scheme.

Google Earth

Using Google earth it is possible to measure cable distances, pipe lengths, water catchment areas, altitude/pressure and much more.

We regularly use this for 'desktop' research of initial hydro enquiries.

The more information we're given, the easier it is for us to put together a system design and estimate some loose costing.

Calculating Water Flow Using a Notched Weir

Please see the flow calculator below to determine your water flow rate.

'L' is the horizontal length of the notch. 'H' is the height of the water above the base of the notch. This measurement is slightly more complicated to measure as it must be taken at least a metre upstream of the notch (or where the water level is not affected by sloping-off as it approaches the notch).

(L) Length (mm)
(h) Height (mm)
Flow (l/s)