Study of factors affecting feasibility of low head hydroelectric generation: final report

Mercer, Albert G., author
Civil Engineering Department, Colorado State University, publisher
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The feasibility of generating electricity from hydropower developments having low heads depends on the characteristics and the cost of the available equipment as well as the cost of producing electricity from alternative sources. The recent development of the tubular turbine has resulted in many advantages for the economical development of low head hydropower. Many units with heads as low as 10 feet have been built in Europe. Twenty five feet appears to be the practical lower limit in North America. The flowing water of rivers provides a possible source of energy for generating electricity. This energy could be developed using turbines similar to some modern airfoil wind turbines but the economics are such that this source will probably never be exploited. Head, itself, is the most important factor affecting the feasibility of low head hydropower. Given two well designed low head plants of equal discharge capacity, the lower head plant will be less feasible because the kw output will be lower but the costs will be higher. The lower head plant will have larger, slower turning turbines and larger inlet and outlet passages.
March 1969.
Includes bibliographical references (page 16).
Prepared for United States Department Of The Interior Bureau Of Reclamation.
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Hydroelectric generators
Hydroelectric power plants
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