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 Performance Evaluation of a Pico-hydro Power Unit

Arthur L. Fajardo1, Rossana Marie C. Amongo1, Marvin C. Petingco2 and  Maria Evic C. Panganiban 3


One of the major potential sources of renewable energy is the utilization of hydropower systems in producing electricity and mechanical power.  It has various applications and this could be an alternative source of power in the farm. Available pico-hydro systems which are gaining popularity in providing electrical and mechanical power in the farm are not subjected to performance testing before they are being installed for actual operation. Hence, they are not being maximized for different conditions.  This study is conducted to determine the performance of a 200-W capacity pico-hydro generator. It was subjected to performance testing using its rated discharge and head settings. It was also subjected to mechanical power test using different starting shaft speed. The generator (electrical) component was removed to measure the mechanical output using a fabricated prony-brake dynamometer. All tests were conducted at different discharge (Q) and head (H) settings.  Results showed that the system has an overall efficiency ranging from 24.64% to 37.82%. The highest efficiency obtained conforms to the manufacturer’s claim that the system will work best at the recommended discharge (35 lps) and head (1.5 m) setting.  The maximum mechanical power obtained was 254.67 W at 1.50 m head with a corresponding mechanical efficiency of 57.33%.

Keywords: pico-hydro, propeller turbine, performance testing

 1 Assistant Professor,  2Instructor, Agricultural Machinery Division (AMD), Institute of Agricultural Engineering (IAE), College of  Engineering Agro-Industrial Technology (CEAT); and 3BSAE Graduate, AMD, IAE, CEAT, University of the Philippines Los Banos, 4031 College, Laguna, Philippines.