The target market for very low head VLH turbogenerators is that of sites with a net head height ranging between 3.2 and 1.4 m having flow capacity ranging from 10 to 30 m3/s per unit.

The target market at by the very low head VLH turbogenerator is that of sites with a net head height ranging between 3.2 and 1.4 m having flow rates enabling installation of VLH with nominal flow capacity ranging from 10 to 30 m3/s per unit. Cost studies for VLH turbogenerator systems indicate that beyond 26.5 m3/s and a 5 m runner diameter, it is more profitable to install several machines instead of increasing the diameter of a single one in terms of electromechanical equipment costs as well as of civil engineering costs.

The VLH turbine can be considered as suitable for two main markets:


Given the fact that hydroelectric energy has been exploited for more than 2 centuries, up to the present day heads of less than 2.8 m were considered either as impossible to exploit for technical reasons, or not profitable enough to be exploited: this means that there now exist a very large quantity of unexploited hydraulic works. 

For some of them, these works now set real maintenance problems since they are no longer associated with an economic activity likely to cope with the costs required by their conservation.

Further, the engagements taken by developed countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions have driven them to create a favorable context for to the development of clean energies, especially by the adoption of fees of purchase of the generated energy intended to favor the development of the generation of energy originating from renewable sources.

Finally, VLH, due to its very special features, will allow the passing of fish through its blades, thus opening a new potential market.

The highly standardized design of the VLH turbogenerator unit will enable reaching costs per installed kW on the order of from 1,500 € to 3,000 € enabling anticipating considerable yields on investments. The operation and maintenance costs will be adapted to the low installed powers.

Just considering European countries, more than 1,900 potential sites must be considered, whereas North American countries, well endowed in terms of hydrology, display a potential amounting to at least half of the European potential.


As for these countries, the situation is extremely different as to the availability of sites with existing main diversion works displaying the possibility of exploiting VLH technologies on existing structures.

In fact, the lesser degree of industrialization and the more recent history of building of large developments considerably reduce the number of sites, despite the existence of often much more profitable climatic and geographic conditions.

However, the specific technical characteristics of the VLH turbogenerator unit are the following ones:

  • The implementation and maintenance simplicity
  • The possibility to operate with very low heads, implying constructive works of reduced dimensions, complexity and costs
  • The possibility to isolate and move away flood-sensitive electric equipments.
  • A high stability and the capacity of generating a high-quality energy while very finely regulating the voltage, frequency, and cos Φ electrical quantities.
  • The reasonable cost per installed kW.
  • The simplicity of some of its parts allows local sub-contracting even to companies with low technological capacity.

This makes it particularly well adapted to the following applications:

  • Rural electrification
  • Exploitation of flat countries submitted to monsoon or to tropical storms
  • Exploitation of irrigation canals, summary though they may be
  • Exploitation of dams, summary though they may be