The WPTO Accomplishments Report included CTD’s project Design and Development of a Composite Hydropower Turbine Runner.

A team led by Composite Technology Development Inc. created and tested a composite hydropower turbine runner and found composite blades performed nearly identically to traditional blades made of stainless steel. This composite material aims to reduce the weight and extend the useful life of runner blades, which are attached to the rotating part of the turbine used to convert the energy of falling water into mechanical energy. 

This lighter, more durable composite material could be a viable candidate for new and replacement runner blades. When the composite materials are applied to an existing 

runner blade or used to create a new one, the resulting blade has potential to be less expensive and easier to install than traditional blades and reduces maintenance by decreasing the effects of cavitation, the phenomenon that erodes hydropower turbines when vapor bubbles form and implode due to rapid pressure changes within the hydropower turbine.

The blades were tested at Penn State University Advanced Research Laboratories. Sandia National Laboratories, Tribologix, Inc., and Voith Hydro Inc. provided support during the development and testing process.