Numerical Simulation of Hydraulic Turbine During Transient Operation Using OpenFOAM
Paper in proceeding, 2021

Power generation from intermittent renewable energy resources (e.g. wind, solar) requires regulation of the electric grid. Although most hydraulic turbines are designed to work in their best efficiency points, nowadays they are being used more often under varying operating conditions to stabilize the electric grid. Unstable and varying conditions of fluid flow in hydraulic turbines during transient operation cause significant pressure fluctuations and load variations that could negatively affect the turbine lifetime. Therefore, the development of high-fidelity numerical tools for hydraulic turbine flow during transient operation, i.e. changing from one condition to another or during start-up and shut-down, is of great importance for the lifetime prediction of the machines. In the present work, we are investigating the capabilities of the OpenFOAM open-source CFD tool to predict such phenomena. The transient operation of hydraulic turbines most of the time involves changing the guide vane angles while the runner is rotating, which must thus also be allowed by the employed numerical techniques. The high-head Francis-99 turbine is used as a test case, due to the availability of the geometry and rich experimental data. The turbulence resolving computations are performed using the SAS turbulence model. The numerical results are validated against the experimental data and compared with each other in terms of accuracy and usability. The results are also used for describing the flow behaviors during the shutdown.


Saeed Salehi

Chalmers, Mechanics and Maritime Sciences (M2), Fluid Dynamics

Håkan Nilsson

Chalmers, Mechanics and Maritime Sciences (M2), Fluid Dynamics

Eric Lillberg


Nicolas Edh


IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science

17551307 (ISSN) 17551315 (eISSN)

Vol. 774 1 012060

30th IAHR Symposium on Hydraulic Machinery and Systems Online (Virtual conference)
Lausanne, Switzerland,

Flow in turbines during new operating procedures

Energiforsk AB, 2019-10-01 -- 2020-12-31.

Swedish Energy Agency, 2019-10-01 -- 2021-08-31.

Svenskt Vattenkraftcentrum, 2019-10-01 -- 2021-08-31.

Subject Categories

Aerospace Engineering

Energy Engineering

Fluid Mechanics and Acoustics

Areas of Advance



C3SE (Chalmers Centre for Computational Science and Engineering)



More information

Latest update

7/5/2021 8