Project Name: Active Flow Control system FOR improving HYDRaulic turbine performances at off-design Operation


Hydropower plays a central role in the context of EU energy transition into renewable power generation.

AFC4Hydro project is addressing the need to develop solutions to reduce the cost and increase the performance of hydropower. Hydraulic turbines are today limited in their operating range; therefore, a novel component is being developed to allow efficient use in off-design operation as well as during ramp up and ramp down phases. AFC4Hydro aims to design, implement, and validate a novel Active Flow Control system for Hydropower to improve the performance of large-scale prototype hydraulic turbines of any size, capacity, or design.
Specifically, the system modifies the draft tube flow field to mitigate or suppress the pressure fluctuations induced by the vortical flow which limits the operation of actual hydraulic machines. Special attention is given to the flow instability leading to the formation of the vortex rope in the draft tube.
A combination of two innovative technologies is used in the draft tube:

  • injection of pulsating momentum (IPM) with a specific frequency, amplitude and phase by means of rods;
  • injection of continuous momentum (ICM) in the form of water jets with controlled speed and orientation directed against the swirling flow.

The IPM handles the problem at its source, while the ICM is the remedy when the problem arises. In addition, a structural health monitoring (SHM) system is developed to continuously evaluate the performance of the turbine in real time and used as feedback to adjust the flow control strategy with a specifically designed Controller. This closed loop configuration will permit to enhance the stability of the flow and decrease the level of unsteadiness also during transients such as ramp up and ramp down.

Thanks to AFC4Hydro these very important goals will be achieved:

  • Accelerate the integration of renewable energy technologies in the energy system.
  • Reduce the costs of existing hydropower units.
  • Provide a secure supply of hydraulic energy to the grid.
  • Reduce the negative impacts of the climate change.

Reason for applying to services

The AFC4Hydro develops technologies that can be considered add-ons to existing hydro-turbine units, and technologies that aim at improving the performance of the same units. Such add-on technologies are not unique to AFC4Hydro, and many other products/solutions from other suppliers/research initiatives are likely on or close to the market.
For the safe installation and delivery of add-on technologies, from a technological, environmental, and economical perspective, the use of a standard can be beneficial during commercial transactions. The typical assistance a standard can give includes, but is not necessarily limited to:

  • Acceptance criteria,  especially how performance improvement can be determined through measurement.
  • Risk analysis: checklists for modification of existing parts in the hydropower plant, guides for hazards for failing add-on technologies.
  • Use of chemicals and materials and their impact on the environment/ water quality.

Main standardisation interest

How to propose new standardisation items to a Technical Committee

Open Call Topic(s): Resilience

Project Acronym: AFC4Hydro


Grant Agreement Id: 814958

Start Date:

End Date:

Programme: H2020-EU.3.3. - SOCIETAL CHALLENGES - Secure, clean and efficient energy

Call for proposal: H2020-LC-SC3-2018-2019-2020

Funding Scheme: RIA - Research and Innovation action