Standard centrifugal pumps are manufactured in a large number of sizes in order to cover a wide range of heads and flow rates. Conventional turbines, however, are not mass produced since they are custom designed and manufactured. Therefore, pumps are available in the market at comparatively lower cost and shorter delivery periods. In this paper an experimental study is presented in which the use of pumps as turbine (PAT) is explored for micro-hydro power generation. The objective of the study is to explore cheap alternate sources of energy production in remote locations of Pakistan. Extensive research has been carried out by Williams [1] in the field of using pumps as turbines. Only centrifugal pumps were studied to explore their use as turbines in that work. Since then quite a bit of advancement in this sector of technology has taken place. However, to the best of our knowledge, axial flow pumps have never been tested as turbines. The site conditions for micro-hydro power station usually find axial flow pumps to be more appropriate compared cross flow and pelton turbines. A commercially available axial flow pump was selected and test rig was designed and constructed in order to determine the performance characteristics of using the pump as a turbine. The test bed has a provision of simulating various head and flow rate conditions and dynamometer to measure the power output in order to determine the performance of the turbine. The simulated head and flow rates were varied for various typical conditions. Some minor modifications in the basic pump unit were made to accomplish these tests. The experimental study resulted in generating data for which head was varied from 4 to 12 m and flow rate from 700 to 900 m3/hr. For these conditions power developed ranged from 5–20 kW with a maximum efficiency of 70% corresponding to a head of 6.8 m and a flow rate of 800 m3/hr. Pump affinity laws and the data collected in this experimental study were then used to select a Kaplan turbine. This information was then used to choose a commercially available pump for typical low head and high flow rate conditions in Pakistan to generate about 100 kW of electric power, when running in turbine mode. This paper discusses the design and construction of the test rig to carry out experiments for testing pumps as turbines. Details of experimental procedure and results to determine performance characteristics are also presented. Finally selection procedure of a pump for a specific head and flow condition are also discussed in this paper.

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