Capturing the hydropower potential from low head drops within irrigation canals in Peshawar, Pakistan
Group Members
Kieran Atkinson, Rory Fleminger, Alex Goodwin, Natasha Harris, Shaun Paterson, Niall Pearce
Dr Gerald Muller, Dr Sergio Maldonado
British Council, University of Engineering & Technology, Peshawar
In Pakistan, 144 million people do not have reliable access to electricity. However, irrigation canals, spanning 56,000km across the country, provide significant hydropower potential. Within 1120km of canals in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province there are 1368 drop structures; 84% of which lie in the 0.5-2.5m head range. These low head sites collectively have the potential to supply 82.17MW to the region.

This project aims to design a 10kW hydropower installation for a specific, but typical, site within irrigation systems. Currently, available hydropower technologies, such as turbines, are not cost-effective for low head differences. Therefore, the potential remains unused and new technologies are required.

With a predicted efficiency of 60%, and considering other key factors (cost-effectiveness, maintainability and debris accumulation), the impulse undershot waterwheel was selected as the optimum solution. Small-scale (1:8) and largescale (1:2.4) laboratory tests were used to ascertain the hydraulic characteristics and provide overall performance data. Post-experiment analyses were used to optimise the design for a final solution with power predictions.

The project created an innovative solution which included a novel waterwheel configuration, a ski jump (removing the requirement for a diversion canal), rimless roller supports (to increase the take-off speed power whilst considerably reducing the gearing costs), and 180-degree curved blades to signinficantly improve efficiency.

The utilisation of low head drops as a hydropower resource has had a lack of research, both on a national and international scale. This project provides a design which could be applied to irrigation canals throughout the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and across the globe.
Large scale experiment wheel

Wheel detailing
Wheel assembly
Ski jump and base plate
Roller supports and power take-off
Small scale model wheel