A water turbine is a rotary engine that takes energy from moving water.
Water turbines were developed in the nineteenth century and were widely used for industrial power prior to electrical grids. Now they are mostly used for electric power generation. They harness a clean and renewable energy source.
Water wheels have been used for thousands of years for industrial power. Their main shortcoming is size, which limits the flow rate and head that can be harnessed. The migration from water wheels to modern turbines took about one hundred years. Development occurred during the Industrial revolution, using scientific principles and methods. They also made extensive use of new materials and manufacturing methods developed at the time.
The power available in a stream of water is:
- P = power (J/s or watts)
- η = turbine efficiency
- ρ = density of water (kg/m³)
- g = acceleration of gravity (9.81 m/s²)
- h = head (m). For still water, this is the difference in height between the inlet and outlet surfaces. Moving water has an additional component added to account for the kinetic energy of the flow. The total head equals the pressure head plus velocity head.
Source: Wikipedia (All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License)