Abstract: The penetration of intermittent wind and solar power to the grid network above manageable limits disrupts electrical power grids. Consequently, hydraulic turbines synchronized to the grid experience total load rejection and are forced to shut down immediately. The turbine runner accelerates to runaway speeds in a few seconds, inducing high-amplitude, unsteady pressure loading on the blades. This sometimes results in a failure of the turbine components. Moreover, the unsteady pressure loading significantly affects the operating life of the turbine runner. Transient measurements were carried out on a scale model of a Francis turbine prototype (specific speed = 0.27) during an emergency shutdown with a transition into total load rejection. A detailed analysis of variables such as the head, discharge, pressure at different locations including the runner blades, shaft torque, and the guide vane angular movements are performed. The maximum amplitudes of the unsteady pressure fluctuations in the turbine were observed under a runaway condition. The amplitudes were 2.1 and 2.6 times that of the pressure loading at the best efficiency point in the vaneless space and runner, respectively. Such high-amplitude, unsteady pressure pulsations can affect the operating life of the turbine.
... read more