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A micro-hydro power plant is using water power to generate electricity on a small scale. This electricity can be used to power remote sites or be sold to a public distribution network.

Its operating principle is to transform the energy of falling water into mechanical energy through a turbine, then into electrical energy via a generator. The installed capacity of the plant depends on water flow and height of the fall.

The micro hydro educational MP3000 produces electrical energy from a hydroelectric power through a turbine-type "Turgo" and simulating a cascade of 21 meters with pressure pipe.


Main educational objectives

- Analysis and study of industrial components (Turgo turbine, voltage regulator…)

- Study performance.

- Measure different types of energy.

- Observe hydroelectric phenomena.

- Highlight electrical and hydraulic laws.


Technical Specifications


The operational part of the micro-station comprises:

- A thermoplastic tank of approximately 300 litres.

- A multi-cellular centrifugal pump with power of 1.5 kW, output of 15 m3/h and manometric head of 22 mCE.

- A pipework assembly, flowmeter and pressure sensor enable simulation of the waterfall in the form of a forced pipe.

- A turbine equipped with a Turgo wheel consisting of 20 buckets and two injection pipes with manual regulation of the needle openings.

- A porthole window enables observation of the different hydraulic phenomena.

- On the upper side of the turbine there is a three-phase synchronous generator with a power of 1.1 kW.


The control part comprises:

- An electric cabinet containing the buttons and components necessary for the installation’s safety and proper functioning.

- An ATV312 frequency variation drive to control the pump.


- An XBTGT type terminal showing rotating speed of the generator

- Two batteries of capacitors

- A single phase inverter

- Two distributor meters (production and consumption)

- A usage meter

- Six halogenes lamps 100W with switch

- A user socket socket



To characterize the operation of the micro hydro two kinds of measures are possible:
- Hydraulic : pressure, flow, speed of the generator,
- Electrical : voltage, current, active power, apparent power, reactive power, power factor and energy.



A variable speed centrifugal pump, simulating a waterfall, can propel two opposing jets on a bucket wheel. These are calibrated using two injection nozzles operated separately by motorized valves allowing speed adjustement of the jets on the turbine.

A potentiometer enables to vary the speed of the pump and therefore to change the water depth.

The micro power plant offers the possiblity to connect to the network according to 2 coupling modes:
- Coupled direct to the distributor network,
- Coupling feedback, via an inverter.


Direct coupling

When performing the coupling of the generator on the distributor network (charge still not applied to the turbine), it runs at its synchronous speed or 1500 rev / min at 50 Hz
The induction generator must be driven beyond its synchronous speed to provide energy. The torque causes a braking effect and the electrical power changes sign:
- Power consumption of network for motor function (below synchronous speed),
- Power supplied to the network for the operation as a generator (greater than the synchronous speed).
A capacitor allows the recovery of Power Factor.

Coupling by inverter

The generator is not connected to the network (standalone operation), it is necessary to provide a driving circuit. This current is obtained statically by connecting in parallel to the machine a capacitor bank.
If we apply enough torque on the buckets of the turbine so that the generator provides a voltage higher than the entry voltage of the inverter and that it is connected to the distributor network, we will begin to produce electrical energy.
2 meters provide information about the distributor Energy supplied to the network and energy which can be consumed via a user socket.


MP3000C diagrams - click to enlarge :