In this context, a numerical study was conducted to predict the performance of a small axial Kaplan hydro-turbine of 30 cm diameter that can be manufactured and installed vertically on a low head water level of less than 3 m. As a CFD simulation scheme, Large Eddy Simulation was selected to solve for the variables of turbulent flow due to its high fidelity performance for capturing time-variable turbulence wakes and eddies.
Turbine intake tube dimensioning was primarily studied as an affecting element to maximize energy extraction with the set of initial design parameters. The intake tube was tested at six angles (3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18 degrees) and four lengths (50, 60, 75, 90 cm). The simulations were performed on a pre-determined water height, one diffuser design, and one set of stator-rotor having a rotational speed of 750 rpm. Maximizing the efficiency of a system with less material cost was the primary goal of the comparative study. After that, bellmouth profile was adopted to find out its influence on the system performance. Outcomes have proven the merit of higher slope per side length in enhancing output power with an average of 2.7 percent by full expansion from minimum to the maximum angle. Moreover, a corresponding marginal efficiency raise was observed by increasing intake slope, while it was found that the system acts poorly with longer intake tubes as both power and efficiency go down. Bellmouth profiles, based on the guidelines of the best straight design, significantly improved system output to reach 81 percent efficiency.