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Power Plant Engineering

How Is Power Produced In Hydro-electric Power Plant?

A short summary on the process involved in Hydro-electric Power Plant:

The Hydro-electric Power Plant works in which the water which is water stored in Dam or Reservoir is used for Power generation. The Source of water can be from the river or rainfall stored in a dam. The water stored in a dam is made to flow from higher end to lower end. At the lower end, a turbine is coupled to the forced water. Ultimately, the turbine will rotate and generate power.  Depending on the location and requirement there can be a series of turbine setup installed to make it more economical.

The power generation depends on two primary factors.

The height of the water flow.

The amount of the water flow.


The components of Hydro-electric Power Plant:

1.Water Reservoir:

The Water  Reservoir is a place where water is available in a mass quantity. During the rainy season, the quantity of water flow would be high and during the summer the quantity of water flow would be low. The main purpose of the reservoir is to supply the water in a massive amount for an entire year. The capacity of the reservoir is determined by the location and surrounding.


A Dam is a place where water can be stored and distributed according to our convenient. The Dam is used to provide pressure to the water, usually, a water would flow form Higher level to a Lower level providing a pressure to run the turbine.


The Spillways are the structures which are provided to provide safe release of water during floods. There might be a chance for a Dam to get damage if spillways are not present. It acts as a safety valve for the Dam.

4.Trash Rack:

The water from the canals, Rivers may contain different types of debris. There might be a chance for a turbine to get damage if we allow debris. In order to prevent the turbine from damage, the track rack is used to filter the water which is coming from the canal.


The Forebay is structure to provide storage of water when a load on the plant is reduced. Generally, Forebay is constructed with reinforced concrete of stone masonry. The storage facility provided should be at least 4 to 6 hours.

6.Water Tunnel:

The Water Tunnel carries water from the reservoir to the Surge tank. The tunnels can be of Horse-shoe configuration or Circular configuration. A quality control team will take care of the tunnel maintenance and quality.


The canals can also be used to transfer the water from Reservoir to powerhouse. Installing pipes and tube can be difficult but canal installation was easy and economical.


A pipeline which is laid between Surge Tank and Prime Mover is known as Penstock. It is usually made of reinforced concrete or steel. The Penstock is used to regulate the flow of water. The diameter of penstocks is usually up to 7 meters.

9.Surge Tank:

The Surge Tank is included to reduce the sudden rise in pressure in the Penstock. In general Surge Tank is a one in which Water Level rises or falls to vary the pressure so that the steady flow of water will take place.

The different type of Surge Tanks in use is as follows.

Simple Surge Tank

Inclined Surge Tank

Differential Surge Tank.

10.Water Turbine:

The water turbine is coupled to the generator with the shaft mechanism. The Water Turbines which are used in practice is Pelton Wheel Turbine, Francis Turbine and Kaplan Turbine.

11.Draft Tube:

The Draft Tube is connected at the end of the turbine to reduce the velocity of the discharged water. The Pelton Wheel Turbine (Impulse Turbines) doesn’t require Draft Tubes whereas Francis and Kaplan Turbines (Reaction Turbines) requires a Draft Tube. The kinetic at the runner exit is converted to useful pressure energy.


The water is sent out from the industrial unit with the help of Tailrace. The tailrace is usually in rectangular or trapezoidal shape and is constructed using stone or brick masonry depending on the availability.


The powerhouse contains Generator, Turbine, Control Panels, and Transformers. The height of the Powerhouse is usually between 3 to 5 above the sea level and constructed with the brick masonry. The Transformer will step up the voltage to the desired level and the power is transmitted to various places.

Advantages of Hydro-electric Power Plant:

The process is eco-friendly and highly economical.

The Water which is used as a working fuel can easily obtain from rivers.

The Water is unexhaustive when compared to coal, diesel and so on.

There are no fuel handling problems.

The aging won’t affect efficient here.

The cost of maintenance is comparatively low when compared to all other power plants.

There is no need for more workers.

It also provides irrigation and flood control.

The hazards are relatively low when compared to other types.


Drawbacks of Hydro-electric Power Plant:

The Generation of power would vary from season to season.

The cost of installation is high.

Needs a massive area for constructing Dam.

It leads to the destruction of flora and fauna.

The takes a long time to install a Hydro-electric Power Plant.









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