Safe Harbor Turbine Performance Testing

Project Name: Safe Harbor Unit #6 Turbine Testing

Location: Conestoga, PA

Project Size:       

Client: Safe Harbor

Services: Hydroelectric Turbine Generator Performance Analysis 

Project Summary:

Kleinschmidt Associates performed field efficiency testing of the Unit #6 Kaplan turbine at the Safe Harbor Hydroelectric Development in order to determine the potential increase in efficiency that might result from upgrading the existing mechanical 2D cam to an electronic 3D cam. This improvement had not been previously quantified by any actual field tests. The data obtained from the test program also provided baseline performance which could be used to evaluate the actual increase in performance realized from an upgrade to a 3D cam. Testing was performed at three different heads. 

The “as-found” performance was measured at each head using the mechanical cam plate for that head. “Off-cam” testing was then conducted over a range of blade and gate combinations in order to establish the optimum cam relationship for that head. Index test methodology was utilized to determine relative efficiency. Calibration constants from previous test programs were used to calculate a flow rate and determine an absolute efficiency. 

Field data was analyzed and plotted to define the overall efficiency curves for each head tested. These curves illustrate the difference between the “as-found” performance and the optimum performance for each head. In addition, the curves define the most efficient operating point for each head condition. 

An analytical procedure was applied to the results of the field testing to estimate the gain in efficiency that may be realized with a 3D cam. The increase in peak efficiency resulting from the installation of a 3D cam was estimated assuming that the units are already operating at the optimum cam curve for a given head. The value of the increase depends upon how far the actual operating head is from the head that the cam plate is designed for. 

It was determined that any deviation in head greater than 1.5 ft would yield a greater efficiency increase with the use of a 3D cam. In the event that a 3D cam is not installed, new 2D cam relationships should be implemented based upon the results of this test program, to optimize performance at the three test heads.