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    • ISSN: 1793-821X
    • Frequency: Quarterly (2013-2014); Bimonthly (Since 2015)
    • DOI: 10.18178/JOCET
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School of Science and Technology Universiti Malaysia Sabah, Malaysia.
I would like to express my appreciation to all authors, reviewers and edtors.
JOCET 2016 Vol.4(2): 112-119 ISSN: 1793-821X
DOI: 10.7763/JOCET.2016.V4.263

A Parametric Experimental Investigation of the Operating Conditions of Gravitational Vortex Hydropower (GVHP)

Christine Power, Aonghus McNabola, and Paul Coughlan
Abstract—Global energy consumption is growing considerably, raising such issues as increased energy-related greenhouse gas emissions, reduced security of supply, and growing fuel costs. Renewable resources, such as hydropower, offer an alternative energy source to meet the growing demand. Small hydropower (SHP) has been a major focus of hydropower research in recent years, as many of the large scale hydroelectric opportunities around the world have already been exploited. In particular, low head SHP is gaining interest as traditional turbines, such as the Kaplan and Pelton turbines, are typically limited to heads greater than 3m. Gravitational vortex hydropower (GVHP) is one such low head hydropower solution. GVHP exploits the energy available in a vortex flow, enabling hydropower generation at heads as low as 0.7m. A vertical axis turbine is placed in the centre of a vortex flow and rotates with the flow, thus generating mechanical energy. This paper describes a parametric experimental investigation of the operating conditions of GVHP. Various flow rates, inlet conditions, blade sizes and blade numbers were tested and the turbine rotational speed, vortex height and applied resistance force were recorded for each setting. The power input, power output and efficiency were then calculated and compared for the various settings. It was found that the turbine efficiency increases with blade size and blade number for the blade configurations tested. Maximum power outputs were found for the largest flow rate tested and when there was a considerable resistance force applied to the turbine. Finally, of three inlet heights tested, a height of 25 cm above the tank base (35% of the overall tank height) was found to be optimum for turbine performance. These results have implications both for future research and for practice, with energy generating applications in low head rivers and in wastewater networks.

Index Terms—Clean energy, experimental model, gravitational vortex hydropower (GVHP), low head, new energy device.

C. Power and A. McNabola are with the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland (e-mail:,
P. Coughlan is with the School of Business, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland (e-mail:


Cite:Christine Power, Aonghus McNabola, and Paul Coughlan, "A Parametric Experimental Investigation of the Operating Conditions of Gravitational Vortex Hydropower (GVHP)," Journal of Clean Energy Technologies vol. 4, no. 2, pp. 112-119, 2016.

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