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UK university micro hydro turbine installed in Tata’s 150MW India power plant

10kW micro hydro turbine based on technology from University of Southampton is “breakthrough” for Tata Power’s Bhira hydro station in India

Hydropower dam
The University of Southampton said installing the micro hydro turbine is a milestone towards developing low-cost clean energy solutions for hydropower

A micro hydropower turbine based on technology from a UK university has been installed in Tata Power's 150MW Bhira hydro station in India. The 10kW micro hydro turbine generator, which is based on patented technology licensed from the University of Southampton, has been integrated with the Bhira plant on a hydropower project led by Indian power company Tata Power.

The low-head micro hydro turbine, which has been customised and manufactured in Mumbai by India’s Casmir Group, has been installed in the tailrace of the Bhira hydropower station in Maharashtra. It utilises existing flow rates to generate supplementary clean energy to manage auxiliary loads.

The 150MW Bhira hydropower station has been in operation for around 90 years. Tata Power said installing the 10kW micro hydro turbine is a new breakthrough for the Bhira Project.

Mahesh Paranjpe, head-hydros Tata Power, said: “The successful installation and commissioning of the micro hydro turbine is a significant milestone at Bhira. We are happy with this breakthrough.”

Dr. S.M. Sharkh, chief developer and designer of the University of Southampton, added it is a step towards a low-cost clean energy solution.

“The pilot’s success is a significant milestone towards the development of a low-cost clean energy solution based on simplicity, functionality and versatility of design,” Sharkh said.

The hydro micro turbine is connected to a 415 V auxiliary network. Invertors and other associated equipment required for synchronising the unit to the auxiliary grid have been jointly developed by Clean Technology Group and Tata Power Engineers. Tata Power said the company will now be in a position to add the facility to additional locations.

The news from the University of Southampton follows other Western hydro turbines being used to develop hydropower plants in India over the last six months. This includes French firm Alstom, which in October 2013, announced it would supply 205MW of Francis hydro turbines for a plant in India’s Kishtwar district.