Micro hydro turbines with capacity ranging from 5–100 kW can provide a source of renewable energy which has high potential to grow due to the sheer number of available sites with a relatively small head difference and flow rate. Such systems would complement existing conventional large-scale hydro installations.
The paper presents a study of a 30 cm diameter Kaplan hydroturbine geometry with performance optimization through Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) method based on Large Eddy Simulation (LES) of transient turbulence modeling. The work under this study include: selection of horizontal or vertical setup, tail water head test, draft tube length test, draft tube angle test, intake tube geometry test and blade geometry combination test. All of these geometric parameters will be tested and compared based on power output, mass flow rate and efficiency. The optimized geometry was selected for system manufacturing and experimenting by Cadens LLC in a project site in Sullivan, WI.