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Author ORCID Identifier



Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Mechanical Engineering

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Jon G. McGowan

Second Advisor

James F. Manwell

Third Advisor

John E. Tobiason

Subject Categories

Energy Systems | Mechanical Engineering


Microhydro (MHP) systems usually employ unregulated turbines and an electronic load controller, a demand-side control device. Existing analytical models for such systems are lacking details, especially supply-side flow control, for performance simulation at hourly or sub-hourly scales. This work developed stochastic models for downscaling of streamflow and an empirical model of MHP systems. We integrated these models within the framework of Hybrid2 tool to simulate the long-term performance of a tri-hybrid system consisting of hydropower, solar PV and wind turbine.

Based on an additive model of time series decomposition, we develop a Multiple Input Single Output (MISO) model in order to synthesize an hourly time series of streamflow. The MISO model takes into account daily precipitation dataset as well as regional hydrological characteristics. The model employs a constrained Monte-Carlo Markov Chain (MCMC) algorithm which is validated against an hourly time series of flow data at Blue River at Blue, Oklahoma. A non-dimensional performance model of MHP systems is developed based on empirical data from Nepal.

Three design configurations are presented for a case study. The results show that, along with a small pond that can store water for an hour at the rated capacity of MHP system, a hybrid system with half the size of the battery bank can supply the load year around at Thingan Project in Nepal. This system meets the availability requirements of the Multi-Tier Framework for measuring energy access for household supply. The new proposed system is marginal in the economic sense as well. This project can never recover the initial capital cost at a current rate of the tariff which is about 7 cents/kWh. Other O&M risks aside, the sensitivity analysis suggests that the system may barely recover the initial capital cost, excluding the subsidy, at twice the existing rate of tariff and half the interest rate.

This study aspires to come up with better techniques to simulate hybrid microhydro systems and enhance their design and operation through more effective utilization of resources.