3D-printed pelton turbine: How to produce effective technology linked with global knowledge

Mina Takagi, Yoshinobu Watanabe, Shinya Ikematsu, Takayoshi Hayashi, Tokihiko Fujimoto, Yukihiro Shimatani

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Small scale hydropower energy goes a long way to fire up community development. Until 1920-30s, Japanese hydropower techniques had been established on a global level in each local area. However, after the second World War, the main energy resource was changed. This has resulted in a local decline in micro-hydro technical expertise and fewer waterwheel makers throughout Japan. At the present, we are going to work to re-make small scale hydropower technologies and markets. In this paper, we discuss and propose improvements to the "Japanese small scale hydropower technology and production techniques, especially Pelton type wheel. The Pelton wheel technology of Nepal was freely available in the public domain so we decided to design a system based on that. We decided to designed by 3D-CAD and to make our Pelton buckets using a 3D printer. We compared the power generation capacity of our waterwheel with one purchased from New Zealand to investigate its effectiveness and efficiency. In our results of the experiment, the power generation curves for each turbine are approximately equal. The power increases continuously with increases in the flow rate. The maximum power generated by each turbine is approximately the same. This shows that it is possible to design a Pelton bucket that has a power generation efficiency comparable to a purchased bucket. The next step, the Pelton turbine designed in this study was chosen to be included in the Itoshima micro-hydro power generation system. So we scaled up and redesigned the Pelton turbine. In addition, we conducted a survey involving waterwheel makers regarding connecting to cost reduction. Using a 3D printer has the following advantages: 1.) Design deficiencies and failed designs can be identified at an early stage. 2.) Different forms of waterwheel can be made at low cost and in a short amount of time, which can then be used to run water experiments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1593-1596
Number of pages4
JournalEnergy Procedia
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Event6th International Conference on Applied Energy, ICAE 2014 - Taipei, Taiwan, Province of China
Duration: May 30 2014Jun 2 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Energy(all)


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