Independent Hydraulic Turbine Model Testing Laboratory

Hydropower projects are constructed for continuous operation lasting for several decades (50–100 years) and are generally refurbished, uprated and modernized (RMU) after 30–40 years of operation. Extensive testing of turbine before manufacturing for efficient performance is a must as the stakes are high for achieving the best possible efficiency. The sheer size of turbines prohibits testing of prototype during the design stage. In spite of advancement in computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and high computing facilities, model testing of hydraulic turbine is a global standard practice defined by international standard IEC-60193 (2019).The model testing is applicable for any size and capacity of prototype turbine.

In the present scenario, model testing is generally carried out by the turbine manufacturer in their own laboratory, so the need of an independent laboratory is imperative. There are very few independent laboratories across the world like EPFL, Switzerland; NTNU Water Power Laboratory, Norway; KolektorTurboinštitut, Slovenia, etc. An independent hydraulic turbine model testing laboratory at Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee, India has been established to carry out scale model tests of hydraulic machinery to cater the requirements from all over the world, based on IEC 60193 international standards.

By definition, an independent laboratory provides independent verification or testing to identify something, determine performance characteristics, or confirm attainment of specifications. One major advantage of using an independent laboratory is the testing is considered unbiased and chances of business and other pressures influencing the outcome are eliminated. This perception can be advantageous from a quality assurance (QA) perspective to power project owners.

Independent testing may have a variety of purposes, such as:

  • Determine if, or verify that, the requirements of a specifications, regulations, or contractare met
  • Provide standard data for other scientific, engineering, and quality assurance functions
  • Validate suitability for end-use
  • Provide a technical means of comparison of several options
  • Provide a basis for technical communication
  • Help solve problems with current project or determining uprating potential

Hydraulic Turbine R&D Laboratory, IIT Roorkee has Test Rig with main parameters as Maximum Head = 60 m, Maximum discharge = 0.907m³/s, Dynamometer Power/Maximum Speed = 132 kW/1600rpm, Pump Power = 2 x 160 kW, Typical Runner Model Size for Francis Turbine 250 mm – 385 mm, Kaplan Turbine 250- 350 mm, Pelton Turbine Bucket size 80 mm-90 mm, and Reversible Turbine Inlet Diameter 250mm -350 mm. 

3DView of Hydraulic Turbine R&D Laboratory Facility

The laboratory is accredited is as per ISO/IEC 17025:2017 by National Accreditation Board for Laboratory (NABL), India. NABL is member ofInternational Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC)Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA). The MRA supports international trade by promoting international confidence and acceptance of accredited testing and inspection reports, proficiency testing program provisions and reference material producers. Technical barriers to trade, such as the retesting of products each time they enter a new economy is reduced. In this way, the free-trade goal of “accredited once, accepted everywhere” becomes a closer reality.

Hydraulic Machine Experimental Test Rig at IIT Roorkee is a universal test rig for research and development of Hydraulic Turbines, Storage Pumps and Pump-Turbines and has following features:

  • State of the art research facility, utilizing the latest measuring instruments and technical advancements to produce data that easily and consistently complies with all IEC 60193 standards.
  • Modular test rig can be adjusted to fit just about every type of hydraulic turbine, storage pump and pump-turbine.
  • Automated SCADA based data acquisition system allow for quick performanceassessment, potentially shortening development times without diminishing quality.


Model Tests on Hydraulic Machines

  • Hill chart efficiency measurements
  • Cavitation testing and visualization of cavitation development in draft tube
  • Pressure Fluctuation
  • Axial thrust measurements
  • Runaway Speed
  • Reversible pump-turbine, four quadrant measurements
  • Guide vane torque measurements

Independent Expertise in International Hydropower Projects

  • Efficiency tests by thermodynamic and current meters method
  • On-site Measurement of Prototype Hydraulic Machines


Test rig function on fully adjustable support frames High Pressure tank and Lower Pressure Tank, each equipped with motorized movement system, moveable support members, and a variety of segmented pipes, Victaulic joints, elbows, bellows, and valves. As a result, the intake pipes and/or intake tank and outflow tank, turbine fixing points, drive-shaft configurations and generator mounting points can be adjusted to meet any height and distance requirements inherent in the unique designs of each hydraulic machine.

Test rig is equipped with high-precision measuring instruments to be suitable for bothdevelopment and acceptance tests as required by the IEC 60193 standard. VFD generator/motor is installed that can operate in the 4 quadrants: generator in 2 directions and motor in 2 directions.

New hydro capacity addition by next three decades across the world is estimated as 1000GW. Africa, Asia and South America are the major contributors. In addition, similar capacity of hydro projects is likely to be refurbished during this period. In refurbished project a possibility of unexpected performance and lack of increase in the output exists. Therefore, model testing for RMU project is equally important as new projects. With all this development this independent laboratory at IIT Roorkee would play a significant role in model testing of hydro turbine for Indian and international hydro and pumped storage projects.