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Turbine Aerating Runner Technology

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Turbine Aerating Runner Technology


Educational Objectives
On completion of this course, students will:
1. Be provided an overview of one method being used for the enhancement of dissolved oxygen levels in reservoir water releases. Learn about a variety of designs for aeration. 3. Learn a number of different options for introducing air into the turbine discharge.

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4. Understand the benefits of the runner discharge methodology and the aeration methodology.

Introduction
In recent years, environmental and water quality issues have become significant considerations in the operation and upgrade of many hydropower stations and river systems. The aeration of water passing through a hydraulic turbine is rapidly becoming accepted as one effective method of enhancing dissolved oxygen (DO) levels downstream of hydropower projects. When coordinated with turbine refurbishment or re-powering projects, the modifications required to enable aeration of the turbine discharge may be accomplished in a cost effective manner. As part of the ongoing hydro modernization program for their Catawba-Wateree Project, Duke Power elected to upgrade hydraulic turbines at several of their hydropower stations with various turbine aeration options. This course will consider the upgrade of Unit 3 at Duke Powers Wateree Hydro Station to include turbine aeration capability as an example of the Turbine Aerating Runner Technology. There are a number of different options for introducing air into the turbine discharge. The options are basically distinguished by the level of DO increase that may be expected, the flexibility of this aeration, the cost for implementation, and the effect on hydraulic turbine performance. Dissolved oxygen enhancement at the Wateree Project was accomplished by utilizing a new Francis type runner designed to allow the natural aspiration of atmospheric air from the trailing edge of the runner vanes. This proprietary concept was first proven through experimentation with a replacement Francis runner, manufactured by Voith Hydro, which was installed by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) at Norris Dam.1, 2 The runner installed by Duke Power at the Wateree Hydro Station was designed and manufactured by Voith Hydro after mutual evaluation of the project goals, the status of the technology and the available options. This runner represents the
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second generation of this technology and is the first commercial application of the aerating runner design. Initial testing of the Wateree 3 runner has shown excellent performance, flexibility, and strong DO enhancement capabilities throughout the entire operating range.

Taking advantage of opportunities


Typically, the upgrade of a turbine unit includes the replacement of the existing turbine runner with a new runner of an improved hydraulic design as well as refurbishment and design improvement of the other existing main turbine and/or generator components. This provides a perfect opportunity to implement the modifications required for adding turbine aeration capability on selected generating units in a cost-effective manner. Duke Power has already implemented turbine modifications which added hub venting capability at several other hydropower stations (Reference 3). The hub venting concept was chosen where the maximum desired increase in DO was in the 2 to 3 mg/l range and the modifications could be implemented at a relatively small incremental cost. Also, because the initial focus was on improving tailrace DO levels during low f low periods, this fit the capabilities of hub venting well. Hub venting is most effective during operation of the hydraulic turbine operating at partial load. From results of the ongoing Duke Power DO testing program, the aeration needs were determined to be different at Wateree. Based on historical data, a maximum DO increase in excess of 3 mg/l would be desirable during certain low DO periods. The peaking power demand for Wateree also required the flexibility to operate across as much of the power range as possible. This presented more significant economic and technical challenges at Wateree than for the projects where hub venting was selected and implemented.
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Selecting and evaluating the options


DO enhancement by any method cannot be without cost, but the costs of some DO enhancement alternatives can extend far beyond the initial investment. The selection of any DO enhancement system must consider not only upfront capital costs, but also associated operation and maintenance costs, performance degradation impacts on revenue, system effectiveness for multiple units, site specific DO uptake desired, and site specific hydrology, among others. In recent years Voiths joint R&D efforts with their partners have successfully developed a variety of designs for aeration, including hub aeration, distributed aeration (through the runner) and peripheral or discharge ring aeration. There are at least four (4) options to consider to achieve DO enhancement, as follows: Vacuum Breaker Aeration Hub Venting DO Enhancement Design (Central Aeration) Aerating Runner Design (Distributed System) Forebay Oxygen Injection System Vacuum breaker aeration Most of the hydropower stations on the Catawba-Wateree have turbines with settings from 7 feet to as much as 15 feet above tailwater. Manually operated valves exist to break the draft tube vacuum, which allows the water to be cleared from around the turbine runner. This permits the units to be operated as synchronous condensers with very little power consumption. These valves also can be opened while the turbines are generating, and air is admitted to the turbine discharge thereby boosting its DO level. Modifications can be made to increase the air capacity through these valves. The advantages of this design are that the modifications can usually be implemented without disassembly of the turbine and at the lowest relative capital cost of the options considered. The disadvantages are that the effectiveness varies from station to station and that generally only modest increases in DO can be realized. Testing results by Duke Power have shown that at some locations this method can approach the effectiveness of the hub venting design, but it cannot achieve higher levels of DO uptake. Hub venting DO enhancement design For this design, modifications to the turbine are implemented which may allow large quantities of air to be drawn through passageways in the turbine head cover and directed to the runner nose cone. Air then travels to the turbine discharge where turbulence in the runner vortex is relied upon to distribute the air. The advantages of this option are that larger quantities of air are added to the turbine discharge than with the similar vacuum breaker aeration scheme, and the incremental additional cost of the modification is still relatively low. The required turbine modifications are not especially complex and have been successfully completed on various projects by
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most of the major turbine vendors. These DO enhancement systems can be turned on or off as desired and do not have a significant effect on performance when not admitting air. Testing of the units at other Duke Power hydropower stations has demonstrated that this option is most effective at increasing DO levels during part load turbine operation and has lesser enhancement capability as power increases. For Wateree, it was not expected that the desired levels of DO could be achieved with this option. Aerating runner design This design is similar to the hub-venting concept by using modifications to the turbine that are implemented to allow large quantities of air to be drawn through passageways in the turbine head cover. Instead of being directed to the runner nose cone the air is distributed to the turbine runner, where it exits from each the trailing edge of each vane. This is designed to provide smaller air bubbles (i.e., higher surface area for oxygen transfer) and to provide more thorough mixing at all operation levels. Therefore, higher levels of DO uptake are achieved with less air being admitted than with the hub venting concept. This lower concentration of air in the draft tube translates to higher hydraulic performance. Based on model and prototype testing performed jointly by TVA and Voith with the Norris turbines, there was reasonable assurance for Wateree that higher levels of DO uptake could be achieved with this technology without an unacceptable sacrifice in turbine performance throughout the operating range. Forebay oxygen injection system The design of this system uses submerged oxygen dispersion manifolds in the hydropower station forebays, which are fed from liquid oxygen storage tanks. This option was employed at Buzzard Roost Hydro Station due to the difficulty in drafting air into the Kaplan turbine design. The advantage of this system is that it provides an alternative when vacuum breaker aeration is not sufficient and turbine aeration is not viable. There are however several clear disadvantages to this option. The initial capital cost of installing this system at Wateree could exceed the incremental capital cost of an aerating runner due to the required embedment of the discharge piping. There would also be ongoing annual O&M cost for purchasing the liquid oxygen. Additional maintenance of the forebay hoses and injection equipment must be factored into the O&M cost as well. Evaluation conclusion From the evaluation performed for Wateree, it was readily apparent that forebay oxygen injection would be too costly to be competitive at this site and vacuum breaker venting would not likely meet the targeted DO uptake. In the final analysis, although the aerating runner at Wateree requires an initially greater capital investment than hub venting, the long term benefits for both DO uptake and flexibility of op3

eration provide sufficient cumulative benefits to make the aerating runner the clear economic choice. Of particular importance is the increased generation capability during critical periods of the year, when ambient DO may be low and peaking energy values may be high. The aerating runner solution At the time of the Wateree Project, the aerating runner design was very new to the hydropower industry, with only the second generation going to Wateree. Tests of the first generation distributed aeration system employed at Norris Dam have shown that the runner discharge methodology is more beneficial than the aeration methodology for the following reasons: Provides air over a range of turbine discharges with lower impact to performance than all other methods evaluated; Provides air in small bubbles which are distributed over a wide area of draft tube inflow; Provides air in a manner which leads to a high absorption efficiency; and Requires smaller amounts of air and therefore preserves more of the operating characteristic of the turbine. To obtain the airflow required to achieve a 3mg/l uptake in DO, the Wateree blades were fabricated with hollow sections serving as the distribution path for air. Figure 1 Aerating Runner Distributor Section

water as a desired cloud of fine bubbles. The technology embodied in the aerating turbine components is protected by U.S. Patents 4789051 and 5823740 and is also the subject of several patents pending. Figure 2 shows the aerating run- Figure 2 Aerating Runner ner as viewed from below. Easily as Viewed from Below

visible are the nozzles that distribute the air to the water. Achieving the required air flow to meet the greater than 3 mg/l DO uptake meant the losses for air flow had to be minimized in all areas of the distribution system. This was an area where the Norris Dam solutions fell below expectations; therefore, this received very high attention in the second generation design. The results obtained during testing at Wateree confirmed the design goal was met; air flow was in fact controlled by the external valves, rather than the runner passageways choking off the flow and thus limiting the ultimate DO uptake potential. In summary, the primary design enhancements incorporated at Wateree were air flow distribution and reductions in air flow losses.

Making the grade at Wateree field test results


The aerating runner at Wateree was tested in two phases. During the first phase of testing, conducted in January 1999, the machine was index tested with no air admission to establish a baseline for the unit performance and output characteristics. Following the baseline test, the unit performance characteristics were measured for several different air flow rates. The results of this testing are shown in Figure 3. Several observations can be made from Figure 3. For example, when operating with up to 3 air valves open the turbine efficiency dropped no more than 5% from the baseline at BOP, and the maximum power output dropped less than 3%. It was determined later in the testing that 3 open valves actually allowed more air to be admitted than was needed to meet a 3 mg/l uptake. The measured airflow for the various valve configurations is included on Figure 3. For the aerating runner, the amount of airflow at various turbine load settings from 50% to 100% was largest at the lower water flow rates, dropping slightly as the wicket gate setting was increased, when calcuFigure 3 Relative Ef ciency and % Air ow vs. Power
100% 95% Relative Ef ciency 90% 85% 80% 75% Index Test Results from Wateree Aeration Testing 20% Air Flow as a % of Flow (Water)

A cross section of the aerating runner for Wateree is shown in Figure 1 above. The air enters the turbine through pipes installed in the existing turbine guide bearing housing, where valves are located to control the air flow into the cavity between the head cover and the rotating runner. A third seal has been added to the head cover and runner to isolate the air from thrust relief. Holes in the runner crown allow the air to travel to the specially designed hollow runner buckets. The cavity within the bucket leads to the discharge edge of the bucket, where specially designed air distribution nozzles are used to distribute the air into the
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No Air 1 Pipe 2 Pipes 3 Pipes

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lated as a percentage of flow in SCFM. It should be noted that the actual air volume under the runner depends on the local pressures and will differ from site to site. Phase 2 testing measured DO uptake in the tailrace downstream of the plant for various air admission settings. This test was conducted in July 1999. The DO tests were run over several days for several air flow conditions. The airflow, turbine relative flow, and generator output power were correlated with the data from the Phase 1 testing. Baseline DO measurements were recorded at the beginning and end of testing each day. The baseline readings were taken after at least 30 minutes of operating the Unit 3 turbine near best efficiency with no air admission. No other units were operating during the initial Unit 3 DO tests (some multi-unit mixing tests are described later). The results of the DO test are shown in Figure 4. Figure 4 DO Uptake vs. Power
5.00 4.00 66% Opening DO Uptake mg/l 3.00 2.00 1.00 0.00 9.00 16% Opening 50% Opening 33% Opening DO Uptake At Different Air Flows As A % Of Available Opening For Air Flow 100% Opening for Air Flow

Figure 5 DO Uptake vs. Time


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DO Uptake mg/l

4 3 2 1 0 11:25 AM 11:45 AM 12:05 PM 12:25 PM 12:45 PM 1:05 PM 1:25 PM 1:45 PM 2:05 PM 2:25 PM

Avg DO mg/l 50 Yards Downstream

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were then averaged to get a representative DO uptake. Figure 5 (above) tracks the averaged DO uptake at the tailrace monitoring stations (50 yards from the powerhouse) with four open air valves (~66% of the available opening). Additionally, Figure 5 shows the DO uptake present when the flow from a second adjacent unit, not having enhancement capability, is mixed with the aerated output of Unit 3 (two unit mixing occurs from 3:00 to 4:00 pm on the graph). The mixed flow shows a greater combined DO than the arithmetic average of the separate DO readings from the two units. Thus, incremental air volumes above the volume absorbed in the aerating unit had a beneficial effect on the tailrace DO when the flow from Unit 3 was mixed with other unit discharges. This ability to improve mixed flows may enable the station to operate aerated and non-aerated units together and still provide adequate DO enhancement in the tailrace.

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13.00 15.00 Output MW

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Conclusions
These tests have shown that the aerating runner system at Wateree can effectively enhance tailrace dissolved oxygen levels while simultaneously retaining much of the generation capacity and flexibility that is so valuable to the hydropower owner. Although long-term, water quality improvements in the Catawba-Wateree basin will require the continued cooperation of water users and regulators, the new aerating runner at Wateree hydropower stands ready to do its part.

Figure 4 shows that with two air valves open (i.e., 33% of the available opening), the DO uptake measured in the tailrace was observed to reach a maximum of 3.5 mg/l when the turbine is operating at part load. This characteristic is also similar for hub aerating runners and is based on the increased turbulence and vortex below the runner providing enhanced mixing of the admitted air into the water flow. When the turbine was brought up to best efficiency, the DO uptake dropped to 2.5 mg/l. This DO uptake then remained constant up to full load. As further shown in Figure 4 the desired 3 mg/l DO uptake was exceeded at all operating conditions with just 3 of the available 6 supply pipes open. As additional air pipes were opened up to the total of 6, the DO uptake stabilized as the physics of the oxygen transfer dynamics became saturated.

References:
1

Hopping, P., March, P., Brice, T., Cybularz, J., Update on Development of Auto-Venting Turbine Technology, Proceedings, Waterpower 97, pp. 2020-2027. March, P. A. , Brice, T.A. , Mobley, M.A. , and Cybularz, J.M., Turbines for Solving the DO Dilemma, Hydro Review, March 1992.

Complete system benefits


It is important to not only increase the DO levels in the tailrace, but to use representative DO measurements in evaluating tailrace aeration. From the raw data, it was observed that for differing wicket gate positions that the differing rotation of the draft tube swirl could tend to affect the direction of the discharge flow and slightly bias the DO readings at the three monitoring locations across the tailrace. Therefore, the readings from all three monitors were allowed to stabilize for each gate position and the readings
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Gaffney, S. R., Jablonski, T. A. ,and Kirejczyk, J. ,Using Hydro Turbines To Enhance Dissolved Oxygen Levels, Hydro Review, August 1999, pp. 10-14.

Acknowledgements:
This course is based on the presentation entitled Using Hydro Turbine Aerating Runner Technology to Enhance Dissolved Oxygen Levels as presented at HydroVision International 2000. The authors for this paper are acknowledged as J. C. Sigmon, Duke Engineering & Services, Inc., G.D. Lewis, Duke Power, G.A. Snyder, Voith Hydro, Inc., and J.R. Beyer, Voith Hydro, Inc. Portions of the original paper have been modified for this course. 5

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Online Completion

Use this page to review the questions and choose your answers. Return to www.powergenu.com and sign in. If you have not previously purchased the program select it from the Online Courses listing and complete the online purchase. Once purchased the exam will be added to your User History page where a Take Exam link will be provided. Click on the Take Exam link, complete all the program questions and submit your answers. An immediate grade report will be provided and upon receiving a passing grade (70%) your Certificate of Completion will be provided immediately for viewing and/or printing. Certificates of Completion can be viewed and/or printed anytime in the future by returning to www.powergenu.com, sign in and return to your User History Page.

Questions
1. Name two significant considerations that have become important in the upgrade of a hydropower plant: 1. environmental issues 2. economic issues 3. time schedule 4. water quality issues
a. 1 & 2 b. 2 & 3 c. 1 & 4 d. 3 & 4 e. All of the Above

4. The hub venting concept was chosen where the maximum desired increase in DO was in the __ to __ mg/l range and the modifications could be implemented at a relatively small incremental cost.
a. 1 to 3 b. 2 to 4 c. 2 to 3 d. 1 to 4

7. In recent years, Voiths joint R&D efforts with their partners have successfully developed a variety of designs for aeration, including:
a. hub aeration b. distributed aeration (through the discharge ring) c. perpendicular aeration d. head cover aeration

8. There are at least four (4) options to consider to achieve DO enhancement, as follows: 1. Vacuum Breaker Aeration 2. Hub Venting DO Enhancement Design (Central Aeration) 3. Aerating Runner Design (Distributed System) 4. Tailrace Oxygen Injection System
a. True b. False

2. There are a number of different options for introducing air into the turbine discharge. The options are distinguished by two of the following: 1. the level of DO increase that may be expected 2. type of method used for air injection 3. the cost for implementation 4. ease of maintenance for DO injection system
a. 1 & 3 b. 1 & 4 c. 2 & 4 d. 2 & 3 e. All of the Above

5. Hub venting is most effective during operation of the hydraulic turbine operating at partial load.
a. True b. False

6. The selection of any DO enhancement system must consider not only upfront capital costs, but also: 1. Associated operation and maintenance costs 2. Performance degradation impacts on revenue 3. System effectiveness for multiple units 4. Site specific DO uptake desired 5. Site specific hydrology, among others.
a. 1 & 2 b. 2 & 5 c. 1 & 4 d. 3 & 4 e. All of the Above

9. The advantages of the Vacuum Breaker Aeration design are that the modifications can usually be implemented without disassembly of the turbine and at the lowest relative capital cost of the options considered. The disadvantages are that the effectiveness varies from station to station and that generally only modest increases in DO can be realized.
a. True b. False

3. Implementing the modifications required for adding turbine aeration capability on selected generating units is not cost-effective to include when replacing an existing turbine runner.
a. True b. False

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Online Completion

Use this page to review the questions and choose your answers. Return to www.powergenu.com and sign in. If you have not previously purchased the program select it from the Online Courses listing and complete the online purchase. Once purchased the exam will be added to your User History page where a Take Exam link will be provided. Click on the Take Exam link, complete all the program questions and submit your answers. An immediate grade report will be provided and upon receiving a passing grade (70%) your Certificate of Completion will be provided immediately for viewing and/or printing. Certificates of Completion can be viewed and/or printed anytime in the future by returning to www.powergenu.com, sign in and return to your User History Page.

Questions
10. One advantage of the Hub Venting DO Enhancement Design is that smaller quantities of air are added to the turbine discharge than with the similar vacuum breaker aeration scheme, but the incremental additional cost of the modification is relatively high. These DO enhancement systems can be turned on or off as desired and do not have a significant effect on performance when not admitting air. This option is most effective at increasing DO levels during full load turbine operation and has lesser enhancement capability at partial loading.
a. True b. False

12. The runner discharge methodology is more beneficial than the aeration methodology for the following reasons:
a. Provides air over a range of turbine discharges with lower impact to performance than all other methods evaluated b. Provides air in large bubbles which are distributed over a wide area of draft tube inflow c. Provides air in a manner which leads to a high absorption concentration d. Requires smaller amounts of air, but large amounts of oxygen, and therefore preserves more of the operating characteristic of the turbine

14. For the aerating runner, the amount of airflow at various turbine load settings from 50% to 100% was largest at the ________ water flow rates, dropping slightly as the wicket gate setting was ________, when calculated as a percentage of flow in SCFM.
a. lower/decreased b. higher/increased c. lower/increased d. higher/decreased

11. There are several disadvantages to the Forebay Oxygen Injection System: 1. The initial capital cost of installing this system 2. Ongoing annual O&M cost for purchasing the liquid oxygen 3. Additional maintenance of the draft tube hoses and injection equipment 4. Impact to fish passage
a. 1 & 4 b. 2 & 3 c. 1 & 2 d. 3 & 4 e. All of the Above

15. It is important to not only increase the DO levels in the tailrace, but to use representative DO measurements in evaluating tailrace aeration.
a. True b. False

13. In the Waterlee, testing determined that __ open valves actually allowed more air to be admitted than was needed to meet a 3 mg/l uptake.
a. 2 b. 3 c. 4 d. 5

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