A reserved running centrifugal pump can work as a hydraulic turbine with its wide application in industrial energy recovery and the development of micro-hydraulic power. In order to improve the efficiency from the point of turbine working condition, the impeller with forward-curved blades was designed and the hydraulic performances were further analyzed based on the commercial software ANSYS CFX 12.0 in this study. Moreover, to improve the computational accuracy of numerical simulations on turbines, the grid number, the turbulence model, the circumferential flow distribution in the clearance between the volute and the impeller as well as the grid distribution in the boundary layer were considered.
According grid independency analysis, the 1.2 million grids’ number was assumed for numerical simulations. Considering the consuming time and computational stability, as well as the accuracy of the CFD calculation, the k–ε turbulence model was chosen for further calculations. The shaft power and the efficiency of the turbine were more close to the experimental data as the whole computational flow domain in the clearance between the volute and the impeller was connected on the impeller domain. Compared with the performance curves with or without grids in the boundary layer, the boundary layer with grids used in the PAT during numerical simulations was more close to the experimental one.
Compared with the experimental data, the H-Q curves of the hydraulic performances of the turbine with forward-curved blades predicted by CFD were positioned under the experimental one. With respect to the efficiency of the turbine, the various ranges of the efficiency is less than 5%, even there is some deviations between the CFD and experimental results. Therefore, the good agreement of the hydraulic performances between CFD and experimental results in present study indicates that the proposed numerical methods can adequately capture the internal flow in a hydraulic turbine with forward-curved blades, and can also provide a reliable reference for the design of hydraulic turbines.