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25 April 2014
A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Kathmandu University and Alternative Energy Promotion Centre (AEPC) for Development of test rig and competence at KU Turbine Testing Lab for performance testing of micro hydro turbines manufactured in Nepal on 23rd April, 2014 in AEPC office, Khumaltaar, Lalitpur. This event was attended by Prof. Bhola Thapa as a Dean and Project Applicant, Dr. Hari Prasad Neopane, Associate Professor, HOD and Project Leader and Mr. Sailesh Chitrakar, Research Fellow (TTL) and Project Co-ordinator of this project from Kathmandu University. On behalf of AEPC, Prof. Govind Raj Pokharel, Executive Director, Mr. Madhusudhan Adhikari, National Advisor, Mr. Kjartan Gullbrå, International Senior Technical Adviser, NRREP, Mr. Rana Bahadur Thapa, Program Officer and Mr. Jagadish Kumar Khoju, Component Manager represented the program.
At present Kathmandu University has been developing a Turbine Testing Lab itself as a center of excellence for Research and Development (R & D) and testing of turbines in Nepal. It has potential to perform tests on different types of turbines. Turbine Testing Laboratory (TTL) has a capacity to perform prototype test up to 300 kW turbines and perform model test for larger turbines.
With a mission to make renewable energy mainstream resource to rural areas of Nepal, AEPC with support from the Government of Nepal and Development Partners is providing the subsidy to micro and mini hydropower projects up to 1000 kW. Cross flow and Pelton turbines are widely used in micro hydropower plants in Nepal. Although standards for Micro Hydro site testing exists and is put into practice, it is rather simple and basic. Hydraulic efficiency of turbines are not measured, but are calculated from the empirical relation considering generator output. Furthermore, lack of test certification of turbines manufactured in Nepal has been facing the problems for the regional and international market for the business. Hence there is a need of standardizing micro hydro turbines by developing testing rig at the facilities already available at TTL.
The grant of around 9.1 million NRs. has been granted from AEPC in order to develop test rigs at TTL and design of Francis turbine to be fabricated and installed in micro hydropower plants in Nepal together with technology transfer through training to local technicians. The grant has been provided for a total of 8 months. It is expected that from this project, the standard of micro-hydropower scenario in Nepal will be strengthened by standardizing the testing procedures and certifications of the micro-hydro turbines to be installed in a particular site.
Some of the glimpses of MoU signing