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Hydropower Intake
Jianxu Zhou
Hohai University

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Purpose and Requirements of Hydropower Intake


Location: At the header of water conveyance system
Function: To let the water that meet certain criteria enter canals or
pressure conduits under well-controlled conditions.
The intake structure should satisfy the following essential
requirements:
(1) It is capable of to admit plenty of water at any working reservoir
level;
(2) Water quality must be satisfactory;
(3) The head loss should be as small as possible;
(4) The flow should be controllable and intake shall be equipped with
necessary gates
(5) Suction vortex and reservoir area circulations should be avoided.
Set anti-vortex beam if necessary
(6) Intake should satisfy the common requirements imposed on all
hydraulic structures.
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Classification of Hydropower Intake


(1) Submerged intake Below the min. water level of the
reservoir, mainly to introduce deep water into pressurized water
conveyance pipeline.
(2) Exposed intake Mainly to introduce the surface water into
non-pressure water conveyance pipeline and the water flow is
channel flow.
The composition of submerged intake:
Inlet section +(transition section)+ gate section + transition section

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Main Types and Application of Submerged Intake


(1) Intake with a rock-bored gate shaft
(Tunnel Type Intake)
Properties with a rockbored gate shaft and an
excavated inlet section.
Application: better local
geological conditions and
moderate terrain slope.
Advantage make full use
of the role of rock with less
reinforced concrete.

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(2) Tower type intake


Properties
the inlet
section and gate section form
a tower-structure in the
reservoir, and connect with
the bank by a bridge.
Application:
poor
local
geological conditions and
mild terrain slope.
Disadvantages bear the
wave pressure, ice thrust and
forces due to earthquake force.
Advantages Allow to draw
water from one side or radially.

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Tower type intake

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* Tower type intake leaned against


the rock mass (Wall type intake)
Properties lean against the rock
mass.
Applications poor geological
conditions at the entrance zone or
steep terrain slope.
Disadvantages bear the
hydraulic pressure and sometimes
rock pressure which requires
sufficient strength and stability.
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(3) Intake with inclined gate


slots towards the mountain
slope
Inclined horizontal
intake
reduce
or eliminate the
rock pressure hydraulic
pressure is transferred to
the rock mass partially or
totally.

Inclined horizontal intake


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(4) Dam type intake


Properties set directly on the
upstream side of the dam. The inlet
section and gate section are often
combined into one section. The
transition section is compactly
connected together to shorten the
length of intake.
Application the only choice when
penstocks are embedded in the dam.
Requirements its arrangement
should be coordinated with the
dam and its shape varies with the
dam type.

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Dam type intake


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(5) Intake of run-of-river


a. The intake and powerhouse are
connected together and it also
plays the role of flood control and
water retaining
b. low head and large discharge the
issues of sediment flushing and float
cleaning are more prominent
c. Large units dimension units
capacity, the intake are often divided
into two or three channels by isolated
piers.
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(6) Multi-level intake


For the ecological demands
downstream, the intake can
admit the surface water by
used of stoplog gate under
high reservoirs water level.
It is suitable for large and
medium hydropower stations
with relative wide head
variation and the head loss is
slightly larger.

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* Siphon intake for relative low discharge

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(6) Intake/outlet of the upper reservoir and lower reservoir of the


pumped storage power station

Well type intake of the pumped storage power station

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Intake profile of the upper reservoir in Xilongchi PSP

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Side intake of the pumped storage power station

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Side intake of the pumped


storage power station

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Location elevation and dimension of submerged


intake
(1) Location of submerged intake

the inflow is smooth and symmetrical to avoid backflow


and vortex. No sediment and pollutants accumulation happens
in front of the intake. It can be normal operation during flood
season

The intake arrangement is coordinated with the tunnel line

suitable topographic condition geological condition and


water flow condition.

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(2) Elevation of submerged intake


a. Bottom elevation of the intake
should be higher than the design sediment accumulation
elevation and designed with a reverse slope connected
with the reservoirs bottom and intake.
or be assisted with the flushing sluice.

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b. Top elevation of the intake

Common forms of surface vortex


and underwater vortex

Enough submergence
no vortex

With the reduction of


submergence
superficial cruising vortex

Arrangement requirements Its top elevation is lower than the min.

operating water level, and has a certain submergence to avoid the funnelshaped suction vortex (controlling condition) and negative pressure in
pressurized diversion pipeline.
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The critical submergence Scr (m) for


the possible suction vortex can be
estimated by Gordon (J. L. Gordon)

suction
vortex

Empirical Formula:

Scr cV d
in which c is an empirical
coefficient c=0.55-0.73 small
values for symmetrical inflow large

values for side inflow.

*Fr meet

Fr V

g ( S cr d / 2)

0.23
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Engineering measures to improve inflow conditions, to set


floating mats or anti-vortex beam, to upwarp the upper part of
the entrance section.

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Intake/outlet of the pumped storage power station


The intake and outlet of the pumped storage power station are a
hydraulic structure. For the upper reservoir, it is an intake during
power generation and it is an outlet during pumping
operation and on the contrary for the lower reservoir. Therefore, it
is named as the intake /outlet.
Properties
(1) Be applicable to the two-way flow
During inflow, it should gradually shrink during outflow, it should
gradually spread to realize a velocity distribution on the full section
as evenly as possible and the backflow and flow separation should
not occur. Generally, the diffusion section is relatively long.
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(2) The head loss should be smaller


During power generation and pumping operation, for inflow and
outflow, the head loss should be as small as possible, otherwise the
total efficiency of the hydraulic system will reduce.
(3) The operating depth of the reservoir is relatively large, and then the
submergence of the intake/outlet is small. In order to avoid suction
vortex, we need to set anti-vortex beam
(4) the flow velocity passing through the trash rack is relatively large,
so the trash rack is easy to have vibrate problems
(5) the outflow is large while the reservoir capacity is small, maybe the
erosion to reservoirs bottom and side slope is serious, and it is easy
to result in holistic circulation or vortex.
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Main types
(1) Side intake/outlet
The diversion pipeline
is nearly horizontal to
be connected with the
intake/outlet. The
intake/outlet is built
close to reservoirs side
slope with relatively
large structure and
excavation.

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The intake/outlet of the Shahe pumped storage power station

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(2) Well-type intake/outlet (for the upper reservoir)


The intake/outlet is
connecting with the
vertical diversion pipeline,
which is named well-type
intake/outlet or shaft
intake/outlet. This
intake/outlet locates in the
upper reservoir and has
orifices both on the top of
shaft and around the
tower. The intake/outlet
can be open-type, or has a
head cover.
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Well-type intake/outlet with the gate shaft

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439. 5
3457. 5

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7. 4

1
G2

G1
240. 000

O2
7. 3

249. 000
O3
O
295. 000
7. 2

248. 000

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The design requirements of side intake/outlet


It should meet:
(1) not air admission during the inflow, and to prevent or
weaken the formation of vortex
(2) the water flow should spread evenly during inflow
(3) the head loss should be as small as possible
(4) the allowed velocity passing through the trash;
(5) to save engineering quantities and reduce the
engineering cost.

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The shapes and related indexes of side intake/outlet


(1) It should have planar diffusion segments. If the diffusion
angle is too large maybe the flow will be separated
away from the side wall (flow separation).
(2) It should also have vertical diffusion. Generally the
bottom of intake is horizontal and the roof is tilted up.
(3) The reasonable shape and arrangement of diversion
piers.

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Statistical graph of the horizontal diffusion angle for side intake/outlet

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Statistical graph of the inflow velocity for side intake/outlet

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Case analysis:

Diversion piers shape and detailed design

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Head loss coefficient turbine mode 0.214 pump mode


0.535

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Head loss coefficient turbine mode 0.184, pump mode 0.419

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Local head loss coefficient of the intake/outlet under turbine and pump
mode:
(1) General description
The intake/outlet of the pumped storage power station is generally
made up of entrance section, trash rack, diffusion section, diversion
pier, transition section and connecting section, and some of the
intake/outlets also include gate shaft section. Generally, the pipe length
between diffusion section and gate shaft section is very short or they are
connected directly without connection section. Therefore, the head loss
of intake/outlet under inflow or outflow condition is defined as the total
head loss of all the sections of the intake/outlet.

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In order to meet the layout design, the plane bending pipe or


vertical bending pipe is often applied close to the intake/outlet.
When bending pipes exit for the water flow leaving the bending
pipes, because the velocity outside of bending pipe is fast and that
inside is slow, which leads to pressure difference and centrifugal
force difference at the downstream section. Then two secondary
flow occurs and forms a complex water flow which has a certain
impact on the flow pattern of intake/outlet and its head loss.

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The influence of plane bending pipe: if it is relatively close to the


intake/outlet, it will lead to the occurrence of bias flow for the outflow of
each flow channel, which directly causes uneven velocity and discharge
distributions for the whole intake/outlet flow section, increases its head loss.
Therefore, if possible, a straight connection section with length 30 ~ 40D is
needed to connect the intake/outlet and the bending pipe.

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The influence of vertical bending pipe: if it is close to the intake/outlet, the


high flow velocity region locates at its top in the outflow section. In
practical engineering, this phenomenon does not appear and the flow
velocity distribution is relatively uniform, mainly because two symmetrical
vertical bending pipes are designed and thus mostly eliminate the
influences of bias flow caused by a vertical bending pipe.

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(2) Head loss of intake/outlet


Setting diversion piers in diffusion section of intake/outlet is mainly
to make the water flow shrink or diffuse evenly, and the velocity
distribution is uniform and stable.
The head loss of intake/outlet depends on inflow and outflow
conditions. It mainly includes diffusion shock, local separation and
local impact. in the case that the intake/outlet is divided into three or
four channels by the diversion piers, the uniformity of flow
distribution of all the channels is a more important factor on the
head loss of intake/outlet.
Generally, the head loss is smaller for inflow in the intake/outlet, and
the head loss coefficient varies between 0.2 and 0.3; in the case of
outflow, the head loss is larger and its coefficient is about 0.4 to 0.8.

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Comparison of the head loss coefficients for the intake/outlet of


the pumped storage power stations in China.
Upper reservoir

Lower reservoir

Head loss coefficient

Pumpedstorage power
stations

Type

Head loss coefficient


Type

Inflow

Outflow

Inflow

Outflow

Side

0.22

0.26

Side

Side

0.34

0.39

Side

0.33

0.37

Side

0.19

0.39

Side

0.22

0.40

Side

0.25

0.33

Side

0.31

0.43

Side

0.19

0.48

Side

0.14

0.46

Side

0.33

0.58

Side

0.19

0.27

Side

0.14

0.46

Side

0.26

0.33

Side

0.27

0.54

Side

0.32

0.43

Side

0.21

0.33

Side

0.25

0.32

Side

0.18

0.42

Side

0.38

0.48

Side

0.21

0.67

Well-type

0.53

0.64

Side

0.23

0.33

Well-type

0.33

0.54

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Several major design issues


(1) The flow field in reservoir area

Under low reservoir level, the velocity field of the reservoir


bottom in the case of outflow
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Under low reservoir level, the velocity field of the reservoir


bottom in the case of inflow

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Under low reservoir level, the velocity field of the reservoir


bottom in the case of outflow (with higher reservoir bottom)
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Under low reservoir level, the velocity field of the reservoir


bottom in the case of inflow (with higher reservoir bottom)

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Flow pattern design and anti-vortex design for inflow


The min. submergence of the intake/outlet is very small when the
reservoir is in dead water level. It is necessary to use different
structures such as anti-vortex beams and plates, to eliminate the
vibration caused by suction vortex and trash rack. In addition, the
intake/outlet has complex two-way water flow. In order to make the
velocity and discharge distribution as uniform as possible, without any
backflow and flow separation, and with smaller head loss, it is
important to have a best design for the intake/outlet.
Due to various, frequent and complex conditions switch in the pumped
storage power station, and wide variation of reservoirs water level, it
is more important to avoid the harmful vortex near the intake/outlet.

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Suction vortex with air admission is more harmful and must be


avoided. There are many factors that influence the vortex's occurrence
and development, such as the flow direction and velocity distribution
(or inflow Fr.), the near velocity distribution, the layout of the
transition section and diversion pier, the terrain of reservoir nearby,
the designed submergence of the intake/outlet and so on.
In order to discriminate whether harmful vortex occurs in the
intake/outlet, J. L. Gordon obtained the critical submergence formula
for the intakes based on many field tests and further numerical
analysis.

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In order to guarantee the safe and reliable operation of the pumpedstorage hydropower stations, to set anti-vortex beams above the
intake/outlet is commonly used to prevent the inflow vortex. From the
effectiveness of anti-vortex beam, to set the floating mats is the best
choice, however, because the floating mats are easy to be affected by
floating debris and its structure is relatively complex, the anti-vortex
beams are often used instead of the floating mats.

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Case analysis:

Judgement criterion of vortex

Vortex without water depression

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Structural parameters of the original scheme for anti-vortex beam

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Experimental results of 1# intake/outlet with anti-vortex beams

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Experimental photo of the original scheme for anti-vortex beams

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Experimental photo of the original scheme for anti-vortex beams

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Experimental results of 2# intake/outlet with anti-vortex beams

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Experimental photo of the recommended scheme for anti-vortex beams

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Optimized structural parameters of anti-vortex beams:

Height of the anti-vortex beams original 1.5m final 1.0m

Spacing of anti-vortex beams original 0.8m final 0.5m, 5


anti-vortex beams.

Intake/outlet height original 12.2m final 9.9m

Intake/outlet width original 42.6m final 28.5m

Horizontal diffusion angle original 39.6 final 44.9

Length of diffusion section original 44.5m final 22.9m

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Design of diffusion section


Focus on:
(1) Determination of large size
(2) Design of diversion piers
(3) Design of anti-vortex beams.
Trash rack design
(1) Operating conditions
(2) Possible destruction and its origins
(3) Vibration sources
(4) Measures to prevent vibration damage.

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The requirement of minimum velocity passing through the trash rack


Upper reservoir
No.

Lower reservoir

PSP

Dimension of trash
rack (m2)

Velocity
(m/s)

PSP

Dimension of trash
rack (m2)

Velocity
(m/s)

4510.0

1.01

24.87.0

1.0

45.09.0

0.90

44.510.8

0.83

47.513.0

0.72

47.513.0

0.72

45.08.5

0.82

45.510.0

0.62

45.09.5

0.99

34.56.5

0.62

44.09.75

0.77

44.56.67

0.90

24.04.9

1.0

46.2515

0.89

47.516.0

0.96

45.510.0

0.8

4715.0

0.77

33.44.5

0.8

28.211.5
29.011.5

0.69

10

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Working conditions for trash rack in intake/outlet of the pumped


storage power station
(1)Two-way flow in the flow channels
(2)The rotation modes of the water flow at runner outlet under turbine
condition varies greatly under different operating modes, and the
forces on the trash rack varied simultaneously
(3)Flow patterns in the transient conditions of the pumped-storage
hydropower stations are complex, and then the forces on trash rack
increase accordingly.

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If the trash rack of the pumped-storage power stations


intake/outlet is poorly designed the damages are easy to occur.
There are two main destructions
Lateral vibration damage to single rack bar of trash rack, or
vibration damage along the water flow direction. There may also
have torsion vibration
Vibration damages to the whole trash rack perpendicular or
parallel to water flow direction. Generally, the main reason for
damages of the trash rack is the excited vibration of water flow.

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There are two vibration sources of excited vibration


The disturbance produced by the vortex shedding separated
from the tail of the cascade. It is unstable
The disturbances generated by the turbine and its disturbance
frequency is relatively stable. The disturbance frequencies of
these excited vibrations may be coupling with the natural
frequency of the cascade in the lateral or along the water flow
direction, or maybe coupling with that of the whole trash rack
perpendicular or parallel to water flow direction. These may
cause resonance and make the trash rack damaged.

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In the design of trash rack in order to avoid resonance and further


destructions, the natural frequencies of the trash rack and its rack bars
should be far greater than the disturbance frequency as much as
possible. The main measures are
Reduce the velocity passing through the trash rack or thicken its
cascades, which can reduce the disturbance frequency of vortex;
Strengthen the connection of the trash rack with well welding to
improve its rigidness. Shorten the span of single rack bar, namely
increase fixed points in the middle of the rack bar, which can effectively
improve the natural frequency of the rack bar;
If reservoirs water is clear without floating debris, we can consider
removing the trash rack, or lift up the trash rack during outflow.

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