Mechanical Basics

What is Pelton Turbine?

A Pelton turbine is a type of hydropower turbine designed to convert the energy of flowing water into mechanical energy, which can then be used to generate electricity.

What is Pelton Turbine  

The Pelton turbine is characterized by its distinctive design, which includes a set of spoon-shaped buckets mounted around the edge of a wheel. Water is directed onto the wheel, and the kinetic energy of the high-velocity water jet causes the wheel to rotate.

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History of Pelton Turbine

  • Pelton turbine is named after Lester Allan Pelton, the American engineer who invented it in the 1870s.
  • The Pelton turbine revolutionized hydropower. Its spoon-shaped buckets efficiently harness high-head water flow, converting kinetic energy into mechanical power.

Parts of Pelton Turbine

The parts of Pelton turbine are


Runner is the central part of the turbine, often called the wheel, with spoon-shaped buckets around its circumference. It is the component where the water jet interacts to produce mechanical energy.


Nozzles control the flow of water and direct it onto the buckets of the runner. The adjustment allows for optimization of the turbine’s performance based on the available water flow.


Penstock is a pipe or conduit that delivers water from the source to the turbine. It ensures a controlled and pressurized flow of water to maximize the turbine’s efficiency.


The rotational motion produced by the runner is transmitted to the generator through a shaft. The generator converts the mechanical energy into electrical energy.


Generator converts the rotational motion of the turbine into electricity. It typically includes components such as a rotor and a stator to generate electrical power.


Governor regulates the speed of the turbine to maintain a constant rotational speed. It helps stabilize the output of the generator and ensures the efficient operation of the turbine.

Control System:

Control systems Monitors and controls various parameters of the turbine, such as speed and flow, to optimize performance and respond to changes in operating conditions.

Working Principle of Pelton Turbine

Working of Pelton Turbine

  • The working principle of Pelton turbine is “harnesses hydropower by directing high-velocity water jets onto spoon-shaped buckets on a rotating wheel.”
  • This impact transfers kinetic energy, causing the wheel to spin and generate electricity.

Working of Pelton Turbine

The working of a Pelton turbine involves the conversion of the kinetic energy of high-velocity water into mechanical energy, ultimately generating electricity. The working process of Pelton Turbine is

Intake of Water:

The process begins with the intake of water from a high-head source, typically a mountain stream or river, through a penstock, a large pipe that carries and directs the water towards the turbine.

Jet Formation:

The high-pressure water from the penstock is then directed through a set of adjustable nozzles. These nozzles control the flow of water and convert the pressure energy into kinetic energy, resulting in a high-velocity water jet.

Bucket Impact:

The water jet is aimed at the spoon-shaped buckets mounted on the periphery of the Pelton wheel or runner. Each bucket is designed to efficiently capture the kinetic energy of the water jet. The shape of the buckets allows for the redirection of the water, minimizing energy loss.

Rotation of Wheel:

The impact of the high-velocity water jet on the buckets causes the Pelton wheel to rotate. The kinetic energy of the water is transferred to the wheel, inducing its rotational motion.

Energy Transfer:

The rotating Pelton wheel is connected to a shaft, and the mechanical energy produced by the wheel’s rotation is transferred to a generator.

The generator converts the mechanical energy into electrical energy. The rotating shaft within the generator induces an electromagnetic field, generating electricity in the stator windings through electromagnetic induction.

Grid Connection:

The generated electricity is then connected to the electrical grid, providing a renewable and sustainable source of power.

Advantages of Pelton Turbine

Pelton Turbine Jet

The advantages of Pelton turbine are

High Efficiency:

Pelton turbines are known for their high efficiency, particularly in applications with high heads and low flow rates.

Adjustable Nozzle:

The flow of water to the buckets is controlled by adjustable nozzles, allowing the operator to optimize the turbine’s performance based on the water flow.

High Head Applications:

They are most effective in situations where there is a significant vertical drop (high head) of water, such as mountainous regions.

Disadvantages of Pelton Turbine

The Disadvantages of Pelton turbines includes

  • Sensitivity to variations in water flow, making them less suitable for sites with fluctuating water levels.
  • They are also complex and expensive to manufacture.
  • Pelton turbines require careful maintenance
  • The sediment in the water can affect the efficiency and posing operational challenges.

Applications of Pelton Turbine

  • Pelton turbines are commonly used in Mountain and Hilly areas where high-head hydropower resources are abundant.
  • They are often employed in small to medium-sized hydroelectric power plants to generate electricity from mountain streams or rivers with steep gradients.


Pelton turbine’s efficiency is optimized by adjusting the nozzles to match the available water flow, ensuring that the kinetic energy of the water is efficiently converted into rotational motion and electricity. This makes Pelton particularly suitable for high-head, low-flow hydropower applications in mountainous regions.