Workshop on Francis turbines and Centrifugal pumps on April 28, 2022

A one-day workshop on Francis turbines and Centrifugal pumps was conducted on April 28, 2022 at Himalaya Hotel, Kathmandu. The workshop was aimed to share the experiences of design, manufacturing, installation and testing works related to Francis turbines and pumps by Turbine Testing Lab through EnergizeNepal and HydroCen (FranSed) projects.

The workshop was attended by various industries of Nepal associated with hydropower. In the workshop, a Francis turbine design tool, Design Resource In Francis Turbine (TTL-DRIFT v1.0) developed by TTL was released as an open source design tool for the participants. The tool is expected to support industries for carrying out the design, fabrication, repair/maintenance and cost estimation of Francis turbines.

In the workshop, Professor Bhola Thapa, Vice Chancellor of Kathmandu University shared his remarks on the history of turbine design works at TTL. Similarly, Professor Manish Pokharel, Dean of School of Engineering, KU and Professor Hari Prasad Neopane delivered remarks on the need of academic-industrial collaboration and the various projects being carried out at KU to fulfill these collaborations. Mr. Pratik Man Singh Pradhan, Vice President of Butwal Power Company Ltd. also shared his experiences about sedimentation issues and sediment erosion in turbines during the inaugural session. Dr. Sailesh Chitrakar, Faculty-In-Charge of TTL delivered a presentation on the ongoing activities of TTL in the sector of Francis turbines and pumps. Mr. Amul Ghimire, Mr. Dadiram Dahal and Mr. Nischal Pokharel, who are involved in various research works related to Francis turbines at TTL shared their Master’s works and use of TTL-DRIFT for the turbine design.

Several comments were received in the table and open discussion sessions, majorly from the industrial sector. Mr. Dewan Singh Thapa from Thapa Engineering Pvt. Ltd. shared his experiences of manufacturing Francis turbines and obstacles associated with that. Mr. Surendra Bhakta Mathema from Power tech Pvt. Ltd. spoke about the significance of the design tool for industries. Some other comments received from the discussion are listed below:
• The complications related to design and manufacturing of Francis turbines were identified as the main hurdle for the industries of Nepal. Whereas Pelton and cross-flow turbines are already developed for micro-hydro power plants, a plenty of technical challenges is ceasing the development of Francis turbines.
• The design tool (TTL-DRIFT) may also incorporate other components of the turbine, such as guide vanes, stay vanes, shafts, spiral casing, draft tube etc. These components could be included in the future versions of the tool.
• There are still some trust issues for the developers and policy makers in Nepal for awarding any manufacturing works to Nepalese industries.
• For manufacturing of the large scale turbines, a huge investment might be needed in the equipment. However, there could also be some scope for refurbishment of the existing micro hydropower plants if appropriate policies related to grid synchronization are developed. The role of NEA and AEPC could be crucial in those cases.
• Some of the other developments, such as valves, pipes, etc. might be more feasible for the industries of Nepal to start with. Academic-Industry collaboration in those sectors may be fruitful in the coming days.