François Avellan


Biography and current work


The mission of the EPFL Laboratory for Hydraulic Machines is teaching, research and scientific service outreach in the field of hydrodynamics of rotating machines such as hydraulic turbines, pumps, pump-turbines. Theoretical modeling and both numerical simulation and experimental methods are investigated with a particular emphasis on the hydropower technology applications such as design, engineering, installation, control and operation of hydraulic machines.


Prof. François Avellan, director of the EPFL Laboratory for Hydraulic Machines, graduated in Hydraulic Engineering from Ecole nationale supérieure d'hydraulique, Institut national polytechnique de Grenoble, France, in 1977 and, in 1980, got his doctoral degree in engineering from University of Aix-Marseille II, France. Research associate at EPFL in 1980, he is director of the EPFL Laboratory for Hydraulic Machines since 1994 and, in 2003, was appointed Ordinary Professor in Hydraulic Machinery. Supervising 37 EPFL doctoral theses, he was distinguished by SHF, Société hydrotechnique de France, awarding him the "Grand Prix 2010 de l'hydrotechnique". His main research domains of interests are hydrodynamics of turbine, pump and pump-turbines including cavitation, hydro-acoustics, design, performance and operation assessments of hydraulic machines. Prof. Avellan was Chairman of the IAHR Section on Hydraulic Machinery and Systems from 2002 to 2012. He has conducted successfully several Swiss and international collaborative research projects, involving key hydropower operators and suppliers, such as:
- Coordination for the FP7 European project n° 608532 "HYPERBOLE: HYdropower plants PERformance and flexiBle Operation towards Lean integration of new renewable Energies" (2013-2017);
- Deputy Head of the Swiss Competence Center for Energy Research – Supply of Electricity (SCCER-SoE) to carry out innovative and sustainable research in the areas of geo-energy and hydropower for phase I (2013-2016) and Phase II (2017, 2010) to be approved.
- EUREKA European research projects: N° 4150 and N° 3246, "HYDRODYNA, Harnessing the dynamic behavior of pump-turbines", (2003-2011), N° 1605, "FLINDT, Flow Investigation in Draft Tubes",, (1997-2002). N° 2418, "SCAPIN, Stability of Operation of Francis turbines, prediction and modeling";
- Swiss KTI/CTI research projects with GE Renewable Energy (anc. ALSTOM Hydro), Birr, ANDRITZ Hydro, Kriens, FMV, Sion, Groupe E, Granges-Paccot, Power Vision engineering, Ecublens and SULZER Pumps, Winterthur.
- ETH Domain, HYDRONET Project for the Competence Center Energy and Mobility, PSI Villingen.
Furthermore, he is involved in scientific expertise and independent contractual experimental validations of turbines and pump turbines performances for the main hydropower plants in the world. In recognition for his work as Convenor of the TC4 working group of experts in editing the IEC 60193 standard he received the "IEC 1906 Award" from the International Electrotechnical Commission.

François Avellan


Fields of Expertise

  • Hydrodynamics of turbines, pumps and pump-turbines
  • Cavitation
  • Hydroacoustics
  • Numerical flow simulations and experimental investigations
  • IEC 60193 Reduced Scale Physical Model Tests