The Marine and Offshore programme team have successfully printed a Pelton turbine prototype using Electron Beam Powder Bed Fusion (E-PBF).
A Pelton turbine system is used to convert hydraulic energy into electric power, and can be used to harness new sources of marine renewable energy. Complicated supply chains, tedious installations and high maintenance costs mean that high initial investments are needed to produce water turbines using conventional manufacturing methods. Instead, the team leveraged on an additive manufacturing process, the electron beam powder bed fusion (E-PBF), to print an integrated Pelton turbine system with significantly reduced manufacturing cost, simplified supply chain, short lead time and improved overall performance.
Dr Tan Xipeng shared that a scaled down model of the compact, integrated Pelton turbine system, which consists of the Pelton wheel, nozzle & penstock, regulator and housing, was printed in a single step using a titanium alloy, Ti-6Al-4V, in 30 hours and only weighs 0.9kg. In order for the Pelton turbine to meet industrial application requirements, the team is working to further scale up the printing by 0.5 to 1.5m.