Hydro-Turbine Optimization
Poiesz Multivariable Calculus 2015-2016
Nina Bernick - Patrick Liu - Jona Siegel - Michael Zhang

Problem Intro

The Katahdin Paper Company in Millinocket, Maine, operates a hydroelectric generating station on the Penobscot River. Water is piped from a dam to the power station. The rate at which the water flows through the pipe varies, depending on external conditions.

The power station has three different hydroelectric turbines, each with a known (and unique) power function that gives the amount of electric power generated as a function of the water flow arriving at the turbine. The incoming water can be apportioned in different volumes to each turbines, so the goal is to determine how to distribute water among the turbines to give the maximum total energy production for any rate of flow.

Using experimental evidence and Bernoulli's equation, the following quadratic models were determined for the power output of each turbine, along with the allowable flows of operation:

$$KW_1 = (-18.89 + 0.1277Q_1 - 4.08 \cdot 10^{-5}Q_1^2)(170 - 1.6 \cdot 10^{-6}Q_T^2)$$ $$KW_2 = (-24.51 + 0.1358Q_2 - 4.69 \cdot 10^{-5}Q_2^2)(170 - 1.6 \cdot 10^{-6}Q_T^2)$$ $$KW_3 = (-27.02 + 0.1380Q_3 - 3.84 \cdot 10^{-5}Q_3^2)(170 - 1.6 \cdot 10^{-6}Q_T^2)$$ $$250 \leq Q_1 \leq 1110, \quad 250 \leq Q_2 \leq 1110, \quad 250 \leq Q_3 \leq 1225$$


$Q_1$ = flow through turbine $i$ in cubic feet per second

$KW_1$ = power generated by turbine $i$ in kilowatts

$Q_T$ = total flow through the station in cubic feet per second