R N Mbiu


Small hydro power generation has been identified as a key contributor towards rural electrification in Kenya where80% of the rural population is not connected to the national grid and there exists some potential for it mainly in theMt. Kenya region and the Lake Victoria Basin. There are several small hydro plants that have been established inKenya which are running but with various challenges due to the lack of proper feasibility studies being carried outto assess the site, poor demand estimation, poor design of the turbine and generator components, lack of trainedmanpower to carry out the periodic maintenance for proper functioning of the plant. The rural communities tend tobe discouraged by the high capital cost which can be a result of over sizing of the equipments required and also ifthe maintenance is not properly carried out the running cost also become prohibitive and the projects areabandoned. This paper highlights the development on design of the small hydro plants made by JKUAT whichresulted in fabrication of a pelton turbine wheel from re-cycled aluminium alloy. The pelton buckets attached to thewheel were anodized by an electrolytic process to harden the surface and reduce wear. The fabricated turbine hasbeen able to generate 1Kw of power and provide technical and practical data for use in further design development.


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