Project Summary

New technologies need to be rapidly deployable, more efficient, flexible, and environmentally friendly to maximize water use, energy, and the environment. Pennsylvania State University will develop and demonstrate a low-head hydropower turbine and generator system prototype that combines lightweight, corrosion-resistant metallic components that can be produced through an additive manufacturing process integrated with a health monitoring system and condition-based maintenance. This system will help to identify maintenance needs and facilitate improved operation.

Project Snapshot
Project TitleRapidly Deployable, Advanced, Integrated Low-head Hydropower Turbine and Generator System Prototype 
AwardeePennsylvania State University
Awardee HQ LocationPennsylvania
DOE Funding Amount$2,200,000
Awardee Cost Share$550,000
Program AreaCapacity and Efficiency Upgrades
Recipient TypeUniversity
Award TypeCompetitive Funding Opportunity Announcement
Year Awarded2015
Work LocationsPennsylvania
Funding OpportunityWater Power Manufacturing FOA
Congressional District(s)PA-5


What You Need to Know


This project supports research and development efforts to modernize the U.S. hydropower fleet, which covers 2,000 projects nationwide and has a capacity of 80 GW. Modernizing the existing fleet can add an additional 6.3 GW by 2050, delivering lower-cost power and providing more flexibility for our nation’s power grid.


  • Optimized, scalable design creates high efficiency over wide operating range, compact design for modularity, and low-cost installation.
  • Lowered costs from additive manufacturing technology.
  • Uninterrupted structural health monitoring operation, mitigated catastrophic failure, reduced mean time between maintenance intervals, and reduced operation and maintenance costs.
  • Hub-less design enables self-cleaning on turbine blades and potential for unobstructed fish Increased sustainable hydropower development and reduced regulatory review time.


  • Complete turbine manufacture with structural health monitoring system installed.
  • Test prototype.

About the Water Power Technologies Office

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Water Power Technologies Office advances cutting-edge technology to modernize the U.S. hydropower fleet and drive U.S. leadership in wave and tidal energy, with the goal of delivering low-cost power and resiliency to America’s power grids.