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Design of Hydromechanical component for Sustainability of Hydropower

Structures: A Case Study of Bifurcation for Daraudi Khola Hydropower

Project, Nepal
Ravi Koirala1*, Sailesh Chitrakar1, Hari Prasad Neopane1, Balendra Chettri2
Turbine Testing Lab, Kathmandu University, Dhulikhel, Nepal
Nirvana Tech Pvt. Ltd., Kathmandu, Nepal
* ravikoirala@ku.edu.np
The worldwide demand for production of clean energy through hydro power has been a major issue of concern.
Most of the hydropower resources from the developing countries of Asia like Nepal are yet to be harnessed. The
technology regarding design of hydromechanical components in Nepal is still in the prenatal phase where the
traditional design attempts and processes are being followed. These trends in the design process lack the virtual
analysis part which has been causing the modification of design after construction, failure of the system etc.
Implementation of Computer Aided Simulations with penstock pipes and similar other civil structures can be an
effective approach for pr-estimation. A hydraulically optimized and structurally stable design ascertains
sustainability of plants. More advanced design attempts with incorporation of Computational Simulations increases
the reliability along with cost efficiency by optimizing the factor of safety. A case study of Daraudi Khola
Hydropower of 6 MW, an under construction power plant in Nepal is used, in which hydraulic and mechanical
design for a bifurcation has been performed using Computational analysis. The design is currently under the
fabrication stage in the site.
More over water during the dividing phenomena shows irrelevant behavior hence special care and attention is
required during the hydraulic and mechanical design of bifurcation. Determining the angle of bifurcation and
sectional dimensions for the minimum head loss and identification of structural members for the rigidity are the
major issue of concern. Implementation of computational methods for more reliable design process with visual aids
to estimate the phenomena is the prime need in these kinds of complex cases. Primarily traditional analytical
methods were used to estimate the basic dimensions and CFD simulations were performed for analysis and
optimization. Analytical design with computational analysis is an essential design methodology for critical
Keywords: Bifurcation, Computational Analysis, Design


Hydropower stands as the green solution to global energy demand. Most of the countries in Asian continent like
Nepal have recently entered into the pool of investment in hydropower sector. In fact hydropower development
requires long construction period, large investment and intense Research and Development. In case of compromise
in any of the variables may result into inefficient power development system. Moreover, here in this paper we are
focused on need of proper design and design analysis of Hydromechanical components whose failure may result into
catastrophic disasters like failure of 9/10 units at Sayano Shushenskaya Power Station, Russia in 2009, penstock
rupture in 2000 at Bieudron Power Station, Switzerland because of inability to resist the internal pressure, Penstock
rupture at Lapino Power Plant, Poland due to mechanical failure under water hammer, etc. (1).

Figure 1 Penstock rupture at Lapino Power Plant, Poland

Design attempts at current state are more focused on analytical approach, where calculation processes has been
simplified for results. The hydraulic behavior of water at different phases of operation shows irrelevant behaviors
hence examination with finite element analysis and identification of flow nature with finite volume analysis is an
important perspective to be included.
This paper forwards a design attempt of bifurcation implemented for an under construction hydropower which
implements synergy of both the analytical and computational approaches. Bifurcation refers to the penstock segment
with for flow division to two plant units as shown in figure

Figure 2 Underconstruction bifurcation


Need of Bifurcation in Penstock

Particularly, there can be many important reasons behind the need and use of bifurcation in the hydropower plant (2)
(3). These reasons are discussed below:

Flow variation
There can be significant amount of flow variation in the water bodies in an Annual Seasonal Cycle [ASC]. Since the
part flow and part load operation of turbine results into efficiency deterioration along with the maintenance issues on
continuous operation in off design condition, a number of units are installed. Hence, instead of operating a turbine in
20% flow with single unit, one of the two units will be closed and more efficiency can be attained.
Economical perspective of penstock
An alternative for installation of two units without bifurcation is using two penstocks but this doubles the cost of
penstock installation, hence bifurcation is preferred.
Maintenance perspective
If bifurcation is included in a plant, then cyclic operation of plant on the basis of priority can be done without
completely shutting down the entire system for maintenance activities.
Geographical perspective
The topography of the area and the gradient in the site may not allow the installation of larger penstock or multiple
penstocks hence a bifurcation would be required to install multiple units.
Technical specifications
Although it is rare but in some cases, the capacity of the turbine and the potentiality of the site may be different in
such case installation of multiple units may be assisted by it. In other cases there may be effect of the size of
penstock or material used in the penstock to select the branching in them.

Daraudi Khola Hydropower Project

Daraudi Khola Hydropower Project is a run-of-river type hydropower project developed over Daraudi river situated
in Gorkha district of Western Nepal. This project is currently under construction phase.
Table 1 Specification of Daraudi Khola Project
Main Flow
Each Flow
Penstock diameter

298.77 + 16


4. Hydraulic design of Bifurcation

Wyes branches must be designed for smooth hydraulic flow to avoid excessive head loss, vibration, and cavitation.
They must be geometrically detailed for proportional flow distribution, eliminate acceleration or deceleration of
flow in the adjoining branches, and thus minimize head loss. Head loss in the penstock, including losses in wyes and
branches, contribute to inefficiencies in the power generation system and may result in lost generating revenue or in
the case of pumped storage projects, additional pumping costs.
Angle of bifurcation, ratio of cross sectional area, type and shape of bifurcation, flow, velocity and reynolds
number are some of the major factors governing head losses. Approximation of these parameters using set of
equations at two dimension, may not be relevant to determine the effectiveness.
So far the practices are concerned, often hydraulic design (angle) of bifurcation are prepared based on the flow ratio
referencing the graphs resulted from various researches. In some cases the graph may give a valid bifurcation angle
(but its rare the cases match) but many others were designed on larger hydraulic losses. Based upon the series of
experiments, graphical representation of the losses has been prepared.
Graphical representation from the Miller experiments and Munich test are some of the major representations. (4) (5)

Figure 3 Miller's Plot for Head Loss Coefficient in Symmetric Bifurcation (5)
Geometry development and Computational analysis attempts
The branching sections were only considered during the modeling and the mesh was prepared. Primarily, Mesh
Independent Test with the predefined convergence criteria of 1% on the Design was performed and on that size i.e.
2,018,417 nodes, rest of the analysis was done. An important consideration during the analysis should be maintained
during the selection of the length for computational analysis to obtain steady developed flow.
After the predetermination of the size of computational model, mesh on the geometry of each angle from 45 o to 70o
was performed to determine the point of minimum head loss with the domain definition, boundary conditions and
solver parameters defined in Table 2. (7)
Table 2 Boundary conditions and fluid features for CFD analysis

Domain motion
Turbulence Model
Mass flow rate
Mass flow rate
Mass & Momentum
Wall roughness
Analysis type
Min Iteration
Max Iteration

Domain Definition
1000 kg /m3
Continuous fluid
Shear Stress Transport
Boundary Conditions
624000.366 Pa
5682.9 kg/sec
5682.9 kg/sec
Wall Features
No slip wall
Smooth wall
Steady State Analysis
Convergence control

Convergence Criteria

Residual type
Residual target

The head loss was determined by the Equation 1and described graphically as in the Figure 2.

[Equation 1]

Head Loss Value [mm]

Bifurcation Angle Selection

45 47 49

51 53 55 57

59 61 63

65 67 69

Bifurcation Angle [Degrees]

Figure 4 Head Loss in the bifurcation

From figure 2, it has been found that the angle of bifurcation for the minimum head loss is at 51o.

Figure 5 Pressure and velocity distribution in the flow domain

Figure 6 Pressure distributin in the central plane and the point of maximum pressure
5. Mechanical Design of Bifurcation
5.1. Identification of basic mechanical features
The backgrounds like material properties and fluid properties are identified prior to the analysis. The Indian
Standard guide lines for the selection of the material, its allowable stress and corrosion allowance has been
allocated. Table 3 shows the background for the analysis.

Table 3 Structural Properties for analysis


Design Head
Max. Static Head
Max. Surge Head
Total Head
Buried Pressure [8 m buried]
Mild steel of the standard
Youngs Modulus
Poissons Ratio
Ultimate Tensile Strength
Yield Strength

Hydraulic Parameters

Internal Pressure

External Pressure
Material Properties
[IS Standard]

Allowable Stress
IS code 2825:
(Clause 3.2.2)


Minimum shell thickness

Corrosion Allowance
Minimum standard thickness

2100 mm
63.8 m
11.32 m3/s
63.8 m
26.2 m
90 m
435.8465 N/mm
MS IS-2062
7850 kg/m3
210 GPa
410 MPa
250 MPa
102.5 MPa
18.03 mm
1.5 mm
20 mm

5.2. Design of structural members

The structural members are designed incorporating both the analytical method and the finite element method.
Analytical calculations are used for pre-estimation while the finite element was used for optimized solution.

Simplified Curves Beam Method (9)

A penstock wye or branch connection usually has several stiffening beams to resist the loads applied by the shell of
the pipe. The method incorporated rib shortening, shear deformation of the stiffener beams, and variable flange
width. Although valid, this systematic design process is not efficient considering available modern computing
methods. However, a spreadsheet can be used to drastically cut down the time involved with this design method.
To analyze the wye and branch connections using beams, many simplifications and approximations are used (10).
The localized effect of structural discontinuities, restraints of the stiffening beams, foundation support, and dead
load of the water filled pipe are neglected. End load effects and conicity of the outlet pipes are also neglected and
considered to be small in comparison to the vertical load on the beams. Here a finite certain sections are considered
and computation is prepared based on this approach. This analysis also includes this approach of approximation.
The prime design processes include the deflection of the members AO and BO at point O is equal from figure 5.
This computation was performed considering the uniformly distributed load on symmetric section as shown in figure

Figure 7 Application of stiffeners in the we segment

Figure 8 Simplified beam method for computation of the stiffener (10)


Finite Element Analysis

The finite element analysis design method provides a more complete representation of the penstock shell stiffener
system. It is becoming the standard design tool for penstock wye design in the hydropower industry (2) (3). The
main aim in this analysis will be fulfilled by this method. Where the detail analysis will be explained and performed
based on this process.
The minimum shell thickness was determined using the analytical methodology for pre-setting the computational
limit. based upon which 3D CAD was developed to perform the unstiffened structural analysis for locating the
critical locations with maximum stress and deflection.
The primary dimensions are then modified to counter act on the resultant deflections and stresses. The result was
obtained with iterative computation of the stiffer and girdle rings. The main constraint for the selection of the size of
the support is the site consideration.
Figure 7 shows the result of the finite element analysis. After an iterative computation for the sizes, 20 mm thickness
at the point of division, 26 mm girdle thickness and 16 mm pipe thickness in the branched segments has been
identified. Both the manufacturability and the performance were considered during the analysis.

Figure 9 Stress distribution in the geometry



The paper discusses over the design of bifurcation for a hydropower plant. The hydraulic design of the bifurcation
was performed considering the standard design guidelines and further computational analysis regarding selection of
This selected angle was applied with mechanical features and iterative analysis for thickness of pipe and stiffeners
was performed. All the analysis was focused on developing optimum geometry of the bifurcation with minimum
head losses for reliability.
Based upon this design experience, it can be seen that the hydraulic and mechanical structures are either operating in
risk or in high safety factor. A proper engineered structure should be hydraulically, structurally and economically
optimum for sustainability of the plant and it is the recommendation to uplift the existing standard with modern days
design and developmental tools.


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