The hydro turbine generator is the heart of the plant: the hydro turbine converts the kinetic energy from moving water into electrical energy by rotating the drive shaft of the turbo-generator itself.

The core design of the turbine will be dependent on the head: the vertical height of the water, and the flow: the actual volume of water. High head / low volumes tend to favour a Pelton design; medium head / medium volumes are best served by the Francis design whilst Kaplan is more suited to low head / high volumes. The turbine applications do, however, overlap and other designs (Turgo, Crossflow and the Archimedes among others) might be more suited where, for example, the plant is of micro size or where the most fish-friendly solution is sought.

No machine is 100% efficient but improvements in design and materials (including those of the upstream components) are constantly helping to move the efficiency percentage higher; modern plants now operate with output efficiencies of 90% or more.

KGAL’s staff have over 100 man-years of experience in hydropower both within the UK and internationally whilst our collaboration with Turboinštitut brings over 60 years’ experience in the design and supply of hydro machinery.

Turboinštitut's R&D plays a large part in the overall business planning, guaranteeing internationally competitive performance of the hydro machines. Each turbine design is customized to the relevant site conditions.

Turbine runners are produced in Ljubljana, other turbine parts are produced in carefully selected factories and facilities that meet our standards of workmanship and quality control. KGAL’s engineers are very experienced in managing third party manufacture, be it in Europe or further afield.

The images show the Francis turbo-generator unit at RWE’s HPP at Dolarrog in Wales. KGAL has been providing a number of services for RWE including project management for the replacement of the Francis turbine itself (lh image courtesy of RWE Innogy UK).