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Impact of the Minimum Head on Low-Head Hydropower Plants Energy Production and Profitability


[ 1 ] Instytut Elektroenergetyki, Wydział Inżynierii Środowiska i Energetyki, Politechnika Poznańska | [ P ] employee

Scientific discipline (Law 2.0)

[2.9] Environmental engineering, mining and energy

Year of publication


Published in


Journal year: 2020 | Journal volume: vol. 13 | Journal number: no. 24

Article type

scientific article

Publication language


  • small-scale hydropower
  • Archimedes turbine
  • Kaplan turbine
  • minimum head
  • energy yield

EN In Poland, existing barrages are characterized by relatively high flow and low head, which is challenging for the effective utilization of theoretical watercourse power. The paper presents the impact of the minimum head of the hydro sets on the annual electricity production of small hydropower plants at low-head locations for two types of water turbines: Archimedes and Kaplan turbines. A developed mathematical model was used to simulate energy yield from Archimedes and Kaplan turbines for a given value of the minimum technical head, depending on the number of installed hydro sets. For economic analysis purposes, the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) and net present value (NPV) indicators were calculated. The conducted research allowed for comparing Archimedes and Kaplan’s turbine operating conditions and how the minimum head parameter influences their electricity production and utilization time. As concluded in the results, the influence of minimum head in energy production is more distinct for the Archimedes screw technology than for the Kaplan turbine. The research shows that the decrease in energy production associated with the hydro unit’s minimum head parameter is from 0% to 30% for Kaplan, and it is 6% to 52% for Archimedes turbines.

Pages (from - to)

6728-1 - 6728-21





article number: 6728

License type

CC BY (attribution alone)

Open Access Mode

open journal

Open Access Text Version

final published version

Date of Open Access to the publication

at the time of publication

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