Kathmandu University News

NORAD support to establish Turbine Lab at Kathmandu University

isms | 21 July, 2009 14:40

There is a great need and scope of hydropower development in Nepal. Government of Nepal has announced ambitious plan to exploit hydropower. The rate of development of micro and small hydropower projects are also increasing in the recent years. Micro and mini hydro projects are equally important for rural electrification. Energy Sector Assistance Program (ESAP) is concerned about performance and efficiency of locally manufactured turbines. Alternative Energy Promotion Center (AEPC) has now subsidy policy up to 1 MW under the Mini-Grid program and for this there is a need of improvement in competence of local turbine manufacturer up to that capacity.

Nepalese companies are capable of design, manufacture, install and operate such micro hydro systems. With the increase in project developers, manufacturers and independent power producers, there is increasing demand for the quality, performance and reliability. The competence to exploit water resource for hydropower not only depends on financing, design and management of the project, but also depends on knowledge generation and local adaptability of technology. There is a lack of institution to carryout research and development of hydro-mechanical components in Nepal. Kathmandu University is establishing the Turbine Lab for academic and development activities.

The Turbine Lab will be used for:

          Test laboratory for

         Certification of mini- and micro-turbines sold on the Nepali market

         Supporting Nepali industry for product development

         Private testing from local manufacturer

         Independent lab for performance testing of turbine model on behalf of owners

          Build competence and knowledge within the hydropower sector in Nepal in developing professional on highest level (PhD, Master in Engineering etc.)

         Teaching/learning facility

         Industrial courses

         Staff training for the industry

          Motivation for research

    The laboratory can be used for development of turbine that can be most efficient and can withstand the most severe operating conditions. One of such problem is sand erosion, which is a major problem in Himalayan regions. Nepal can be centre of excellence in this field of research in such area.

         Development of turbine and pump technology

         Maintenance of turbines

          Meeting place for the industry and university

         Research and student projects for the industry

         This will open the door for collaborative research with national and international universities and research institutions

Until now, model testing of turbines purchased by Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) are carried out by foreign laboratories. Nepal Hydro Electric Pvt. Ltd. (NHE) used Indian lab for testing their turbine for certification of their product for Indian market.

Norway has long history of Turbine Lab. Water Power laboratory at Norwegian University of Science and Technology was established in 1917. This lab was instrumental in development of hydropower in Norway. This laboratory is refurbished and modernized in 2001. The facility at this laboratory is often rented by turbine companies like GE and Rainpower for testing their turbine. The concepts developed in this laboratory have already created 2 successful spin-off turbine companies. KU has close collaboration with this laboratory for lab development, human resource training and utilization of laboratory for contract research.

The Turbine Lab consists of upper and lower water storages with capacity to collect 400 cubic meter rainwater, piping system, instrumentation and control units, pumps and measurement system. The topography of lab location facilitates to re-circulated water up to 30 m natural head. With the maximum flow of 0.5 cum/sec, this lab can test the turbines up to 300 kW in full size and can also test turbines of larger size in scaled models.

The estimated cost for development of the laboratory is about 85 million Nepalese rupees. NORAD is providing 60% of the project cost Norwegian Kroner 4.4 million as grant. KU is putting 20% and remaining 20% is expected from Nepalese industries to contribute for the development of the laboratory. KU has already requested major hydropower companies, developers, turbine manufacturers and related stake holders to contribute for this lab. The lab will be operated on business model under the direction of board representing KU and other stakeholders. This lab will be the asset for the nation for sustainable development of hydropower and to become centre of excellence for the problems like Sand Erosion of Turbines.

H.E. Mr Thor Gislesen, Ambassador, Royal Norwegian Embassy, Kathmandu and Prof Suresh Raj Sharma, Vice Chancellor, Kathmandu University signed the agreement on 21st July 17, 2009, for NORAD support to establish Turbine Lab at Kathmandu University. The project will be completed in two years time.

21st July 17, 2009


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