Fachbereich Bauingenieurwesen


The project

Dethridge LThis research deals with the design and optimization of very low head hydropower converter. The main aim of the research is to bring a robust, easy-to-build and affordable technology to the forefront, which is believed to address the energy need of the isolated village communities. To achieve this objective, this project investigates the Dethridge wheel for its potential to be used as a power converter in the irrigation canals. Dethridge wheel  is an undershot water wheel used primarily for flow measurement in irrigation canals. Operating in a similar principle as conventional water wheels, this technology shows a great potential for their use as a hydropower converter. However, to our knowledge no research has been done to understand its hydraulics and performance characteristics as a potential power converter for low-head sites. In this research, the inflow and outflow condition, the throughflow condition and optimization of shroud, and the effect of blade shape and numbers on the wheel performance is investigated. The research takes experimental and numerical methods. A physical model is currently under investigation at the hydraulics laboratory (see figure). As a numerical approach a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) commercial code Flow-3D is being employed. The optimized numerical model will be implemented in the physical model and will be tested in the laboratory for validation.


 Further Information

Project Title


Optimization of Dethridge wheel for Very Low Head Hydropower Application: An Experimental and Numerical Study

Financial Support


German Ministry of Education and Research; Schlumberger Foundation



Prof. Dr.-Ing. Nicole Saenger

Msc. Shakun Paudel



Dethridge Wheel Plakat Tag der Forschung v.2013



 Paudel, S., Linton, N., Zanke, U.C.E, and Saenger, N. (2013), “Experimental investigations on the effect of channel width on flexible rubber blade water wheel performance” International Journal of Renewable Energy, Volume 52, Issue 1, April 2013, Pages 1–7, [Available online at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0960148112006519]

Von Harten, M., Paudel, S. and Saenger, N. (2013), ‘Investigation of Very Low Head Differences in Research and Development of Hydropower Converters”, [In German]
 WasserWirtschaft, [Presented in 9th Seminar Kleinwasserkraft in Stuttgart], Volume 103, October 2013, Pages 22- 25, [http://www.springerprofessional.de/nutzung-kleiner-fallhoehen--ein-beitrag-aus-forschung-und-entwicklung/4723252.html]


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