Experimental and numerical investigation of hydro power generator ventilation
Paper in proceedings, 2014
Improvements in ventilation and cooling offer means to run hydro power generators at higher power output and at varying operating conditions. The electromagnetic, frictional and windage losses generate heat. The heat is removed by an air flow that is driven by fans and/or the rotor itself. The air flow goes through ventilation channels in the stator, to limit the electrical insulation temperatures. The temperature should be kept limited and uniform in both time and space, avoiding thermal stresses and hot-spots. For that purpose it is important that the flow of cooling air is distributed uniformly, and that flow separation and recirculation are minimized. Improvements of the air flow properties also lead to an improvement of the overall efficiency of the machine. A significant part of the windage losses occurs at the entrance of the stator ventilation channels, where the air flow turns abruptly from tangential to radial. The present work focuses exclusively on the air flow inside a generator model, and in particular on the flow inside the stator channels. The generator model design of the present work is based on a real generator that was previously studied. The model is manufactured taking into consideration the needs of both the experimental and numerical methodologies. Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) results have been used in the process of designing the experimental set-up. The rotor and stator are manufactured using rapid-prototyping and plexi-glass, yielding a high geometrical accuracy, and optical experimental access. A special inlet section is designed for accurate air flow rate and inlet velocity profile measurements. The experimental measurements include Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) and total pressure measurements inside the generator. The CFD simulations are performed based on the OpenFOAM CFD toolbox, and the steady-state frozen rotor approach. Specific studies are performed, on the effect of adding “pick-up” to spacers, and the effects of the inlet fan blades on the flow rate through the model. The CFD results capture the experimental flow details to a reasonable level of accuracy.
Hydro Power Generator