The harnessing of energy of the falling water to provide mechanical power has been one of man's greatest achievements. Water wheels providing mechanical power for grinding and water pumping are still in common use. The industrial revolution created new requirements, which demanded larger power generating capacities, which led to rapid improvement in the design of water wheels, turbines and generators. The capacities of hydropower plants became very large as electricity generation became common place by the end of 19th century. The position has ultimately reached a stage where large-scale hydroelectric plants contribute significantly to the State's and the National energy demand. Unfortunately, every development has its cost and the cost of exploiting hydropower is vigilance in ensuring the environment is not irreparably damaged and the life of the river continues to flourish. This demands considerable care and attention in planning.
The situation is different in case of micro, mini or small hydropower projects. A micro, mini or small hydropower station can divert potential energy of the water, which would have dissipated to no benefit in the natural flow along the watercourse. Mini, micro and small hydro plants combine the advantages of large hydro plants on one hand and decentralised power supply on the other. The disadvantages associated with large hydropower plants, like high transmission costs, environmental issues like submergence of forests and croplands, and displacement of families, are not present in small plants. Moreover, the harnessing of local resources like small hydro resources, being of a decentralised nature, lends itself to decentralised utilisation, local implementation and management, making rural development possible based on self-reliance and use of local natural resources. With proper site selection, turbine sizing and commissioning it is very cost effective when integrated with irrigation and water supply projects.
Kirloskar Brothers Limited, the leaders in fluid handling, has been manufacturing hydro turbines for small hydro applications and offers turnkey execution facilities under one roof. KBL has supplied, erected and commissioned the Electro-mechanical equipment for several small hydroelectric schemes in India.
Types of Turbines Manufacture by KBL:
- Francis turbine
- Kaplan turbines
- Pelton turbine