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Numerical study of pump-turbine instabilities : pumping mode off-design conditions

Abstract : Flexibility and energy storage seem to be the main challenges of the energy industry at the present time. Pumped Storage Power Plants (PSP), using reversible pump-turbines, are among the most cost-efficient solutions to answer these needs. To provide a rapid adjustment to the electrical grid, pump-turbines are subjects of quick switching between pumping and generating modes and to extended operation under off-design conditions. To maintain the stability of the grid, the continuous operating area of reversible pump-turbines must be free of hydraulic instabilities. Two main sources of pumping mode instabilities are the presence of the cavitation and the rotating stall, both occurring at the part load. Presence of cavitation can lead into vibrations, loss of performance and sometimes erosion. Moreover, due to rotating stall that can be observed as periodic occurrence and decay of recirculation zones in the distributor regions, the machine can be exposed to uncontrollable shift between the operating points with the significant discharge modification and the drop of the efficiency. Both phenomena are very complex, three-dimensional and demanding for the investigation. Especially rotating stall in the pump-turbines is poorly addressed in the literature. First objective of the presented PhD study has been to develop the cost-efficient numerical methodology in order to enable the accurate prediction and analysis of the off-design part load phenomena. The investigations have been made on the reduce-scaled high head pump-turbine design (nq = 27rpm) provided by Alstom Hydro. Steady and unsteady numerical calculations have been performed using code FINE/Turbo with barotropic cavitation model implemented and developed before in the laboratory. Some of the numerical results have been compared to the experimental data. Cavitating flow analysis has been made for various flow rates and wide range of cavitation levels. Flow investigation has been focused on the cavitation influence on the flow behavior and on the performance of the machine. Main analyses include incipient cavitation values, head drop curves and cavitation forms prediction for wide ranges of flow rates and NPSH values. Special attention has been put on the interaction between cavitation forms and the performance drop (hump zone) caused by the rotating stall. Cavitation results showed good agreement with the provided experimental data. Second part of the thesis has been focused on the prediction and analysis of the rotating stall flow patterns. Computationally fast steady simulations has been presented and used to predict stable and unstable operating regions. The analyses have been done on 4 different guide vanes openings and 2 guide vanes geometries. In order to get detailed information about the unsteady flow patterns related to the rotating stall, more exact unsteady simulations have been performed. Local flow study has been done to describe in details the governing mechanisms of the rotating stall. The analyses enable the investigations of the rotating stall frequencies, number of stalled cells and the intensity of the rotating stall. Moreover, the unsteady calculations give very good prediction of the pump-turbine performance for both, stable and unstable operating regions. Numerical results give very good qualitative and quantitative agreement with the available experimental data. The approach appears to be very reliable, robust and precise. Even though the numerical results (rotating stall frequencies, number of cells...) on the actual geometry should be confirmed experimentally, author believes that the methodology could be used on any other pump-turbine (or centrifugal pump) geometry. Moreover, the simulations can be used industrially to study the effects of the guide vanes geometries, guide vanes opening angles and influence of the gap between the impeller and the distributor in order to reduce or even eliminate the negative effects of the rotating stall.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, February 23, 2016 - 2:38:09 PM
Last modification on : Friday, March 25, 2022 - 9:43:57 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Tuesday, May 24, 2016 - 11:11:26 AM


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  • HAL Id : tel-01272738, version 1




Uroš Ješe. Numerical study of pump-turbine instabilities : pumping mode off-design conditions. Fluids mechanics [physics.class-ph]. Université Grenoble Alpes, 2015. English. ⟨NNT : 2015GREAI090⟩. ⟨tel-01272738⟩



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