HPP-design has a simple interface and is very intuitive, to allow everyone work in the world of hydropower starting from its heart: the turbine.

In order to size a turbine we need two parameters: the net head (H) and the water flow rate (Q). To be more precise, we would also need the grid frequency (f). In Europe, f is normally 50HZ, but for more information take a look here.
With H, Q, and the frequency f, the tool displays a range of possible turbines. The variable data at this stage will be the fourth basic parameter for a hydroelectric turbine: the number of revolutions (n).
At this point, it is necessary to make a choice: the tool suggests a possible configuration, but the proper choice depends on the size of the plant, the price of the generator, the efficiency curve and other variables. If you are not experienced, choose the suggested configuration. Later I will explain the variables for the choice.
That’s it!. The tool shows main dimensions, data specification, and efficiency curve of the hydraulic turbine and some data for the generator’s configuration.
Kaplan Turbine is now available! See the Kaplan FAQ for more information.
New drawing of Francis turbine.
Cavitation limit is now named Hs for all turbines.
NPSH is not shown
Bug fixes.
Minor improvements.


New Energy calculator functions. Now you can estimate the production of your HPP with a simple flow duration curve already implemented on the tool.
Bug fixes.
Minor improvements.

Available the simplified layout for 1J and 2J vertical axis Pelton turbines.
All connections is now secure with the https:// protocol.
Minor improvements.

Francis turbines are now available!
We updated the home page.
You can use the GPM unit for discharge.
You can use the PSI unit for the head.
All the results is in S.I. unit.
For a preliminary power more than 5000kW the unit will be MW.
In Pelton turbines during the selection phase a "suggested configuration" is shown.
In Pelton turbines a typical layout is shown in the result page. Now a simplified layout is shown for horizontal axis 1J, 2J and 3J Pelton and for vertical axis 3J, 4J, 5J and 6J Pelton. The other configurations will be available soon.
In Francis turbine during the selection phase the type of turbine is shown.
Minor improvements.


New options for horizontal or vertical layout in turbine choice.
The preliminary power is shown in turbine choice.
The runner weight is now calculated.
The hydraulic thrust is calculate for horizontal and vertical layout.
The efficiency is linked to the output power of turbines.
The FAQ page is now active.
Minor improvements.

Is possible to download a complete specifications in pdf format from the result page.
Minor improvements.

First release.

In a hydro power plant, normally there are more turbines. So the first thing to do is to divide the discharge in two or more turbines.
For example a HPP with 150m of head and 150m³/s of discharge normally is divided in four or five turbines to increase the reliability of the power plants and reduce the risk.
Please send an email to info (at) hpp-design.com we will glad to analyzed the data and give you the correct sizing of the turbine.
HPP-Design is still in beta phase and now it works only for Pelton and Francis turbines.

A low head hydro power plants normally works with Kaplan, propeller, Archimede screw or cross flow turbines 

Soon more turbines will be available.

What is a Kaplan turbine?

A Kaplan turbine is the most common type of propeller turbine, in which the angle of the blades and the gates to the flow can be adjusted. This type of turbine is most frequently used in the low- to moderate-head range and medium- to high- discharges.

When to use a Kaplan turbine

A Kaplan turbine can be used for heads ranging 2 to 50 m and discharges 1 to 100 m3/s. Multiple turbines allow to increase the total discharge.

How to select a Kaplan turbine in HPP-design?

Just create a new sizing, enter a value of net head [H] and maximum discharge [Q] suitable for Kaplan turbines (e.g. H=20m, Q=10 m3/s), click “create sizing” and select the icon of the Kaplan turbine.

Why is not possible to select the Kaplan icon?

Check the values of net head [H] and maximum discharge [Q] you entered, probably they are out of the range of the Kaplan turbine ( H = 2 to 50 m and Q = 1 to 100 m3/s).

Why there are two numbers on the icon of Kaplan turbines?

The first refers to the number of available turbines without the gearbox while the second, if present, refers to the number of available turbines with the gearbox.

What is the “enable gearbox” switch?

When switched on it allows to use a gearbox between the turbine and the generator in order to better match the optimal speed of the turbine. The switch is enabled only for turbines with nominal power below a given value, when a low rotation speed is suggested for efficiency reasons. For high nominal powers a multiple pole generator is more effective and less expensive.

What is the “Suggested configuration”?

Is the optimal solution in terms of efficiency and it’s highlighted in green in the list.

Once I’ve selected the turbine on the list are there other possible options?

Yes, on the sizing-detail page you can choose the regulation strategy of the turbine and the type of generator.

How does the regulation strategy affects my turbine?

There are different possibilities concerning the regulation strategy:

• Full Kaplan

• Semi Kaplan rotor

• Semi Kaplan stator

• Helix

From the top to the bottom the equipment becomes cheaper while the efficiency at partial loads decreases, as you can see on the efficiency graph just below the sizing details.

What do we mean with Helix turbine?

A Helix turbine is a propeller turbine, in which the angle of the blades can not be adjusted. It is commonly used when discharge is quite constant because lack of regulation makes it not suitable when flow variation is frequent.

Since it is a quite simple machine, it is economically cheaper than a Kaplan turbine.

How does the choice of generator affects my turbine?

For small powers only asynchronous generator are available, while for high power only synchronous are adopted. In between the user can choose a synchronous or asynchronous generator, the first one being capable of reactive power control and a bit more efficient, while more expensive than the second one.

What is an Archimedean Screw Generator (ASG)?

An ASG is a positive displacement machine, which consists of a rotor in the shape of an Archimedean screw rotating in a semicircular trough. By filling the buckets of the screw, incoming water provides a tangential force, thus a torque, on the shaft of the turbine.

Thanks to its robust design, cheap construction, good efficiency, and tolerance to floating object transit, the ASG is a good solution for low heads and medium discharges.

When to use an ASG?

An ASG can be used for heads ranging from 1 to 5 m and discharges from 0.5 to 7 m3/s, as depicted by the red line in the picture below. Multiple ASGs are commonly used in side-by-side arrangement in order to increase the plant discharge, up to 30 m3/s (green area in the picture below). 

How to select an Archimedean Screw Generator in HPP-design?

Just create a new sizing, enter a value of net head [H] and maximum discharge [Q] suitable for ASGs (e.g. H=3m, Q=5 m3/s), click “create sizing” and select the icon of the Archimedean Screw.

Why it is not possible to select the ASG icon?

Check the values of net head [H] and maximum discharge [Q] you entered, probably they are out of the range of the ASG (H = 1-5 m and Q = 0.5-30 m3/s)

Why there is more than one possible solution when I select ASG icon?

Because the required discharge can be achieved with different numbers of generators. More generators require more space and the cost of the plant is normally higher, nevertheless the single generator will be smaller and easier to transport, plant efficiency higher at partial loads and the maintenance easier.

What is the “Suggested configuration”?

Is the solution that allows minimizing the number of generator in the plant, thus the width and the total cost.

Why is there a limit in the maximum discharge of the single Archimedean screw?

Because of construction and transportation limits. Moreover, the lower the available head, the lower the maxim discharge per turbine due to aspect ratio constraints.

Once I have selected the turbine on the list, are there other possible options?

Yes, on the sizing-detail page, you can choose between a fixed-speed and a variable-speed regulation of the turbine. You will see a change in the part load efficiency on the graph.

Which turbine should I choose if both Kaplan and ASG are available?

What are pro and cons of an ASG as compared to a Kaplan turbine?

For heads between 2 and 7m, both a Kaplan turbine and an ASG are available. The first one has a slightly higher efficiency and smaller dimensions. On the other side, ASGs are frequently cheaper (lower CAPEX and OPEX), easier to inspect and allow the transit of debris without the needing of an automatic trash rack.

Through HPP-Design you can compare multiple solutions, check the features of each machine and ask for a quotation!

What is the expected efficiency of an ASG?

Despite its simple construction, an ASG is able to achieve hydraulic efficiencies over 80%. Main losses are related to hydraulic frictions, turbulence at intake and discharge section and water leakages between the screw and the through. Provided that water velocity in the screw is one order of magnitude lower then in reaction turbines, friction losses and kinetic energy loss at discharge are low.

How to regulate an ASG?

An ASG is rather different from traditional turbines, such as Kaplan, Francis or Pelton, since it is a positive displacement machine. Thus, it is regulated without the need of adjustable blades or gates. The screw self-adapt to the decreasing flowrate through a lower filling of the buckets and a lower water level at intake section.

A speed regulation through an inverter system allows achieving higher efficiencies at partial loads by keeping a constant level at intake section. 

Is an ASG reliable?

Although ASG is a relative newcomer to the hydro world, having only arrived on the scene over the last 25 years, they have been around for many centuries as pumps where tens-of-thousands unit have been installed worldwide, particularly in sewage treatment works. The same manufacturers that dominate the pump market are now the main suppliers into the hydropower market as well, providing reliable machines with very low operative costs.

A sizing is defined as Professional when the nominal power of the turbine is higher than 50kW (20kW for Archimedes Screw Generators).

The bundles con be of two types:
  • PRO bundle - includes n°20 professional sizing that must be used in 6 month
  • HERO bundle - includes n° 50 professional sizing that must be used in in 12 month
When you buy a bundle, the correspondent number of Professional Sizing is accredited in your personal profile. Each professional sizing allows you to size a turbine (H and Q and n) without power limits. Once H, Q and the speed have been chosen, the sizing has been consumed and will be scaled by the residual professional sizing.
The coupon can be added during the payment phase and allows a price
discount for the bundle.
Each coupon has a fixed validity and can be used multiple times before expiration.

Your account has an unlimited lifetime but for inactivity periods longer than 12 months the account will be "freezed" and after another 12 months it will be automatically canceled.
The free version of HPP Desing allows unlimited sizing below following power thresholds:
  • 20kW for Archimedes Screw Generators
  • 50kW for all other turbines

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