The Francis Reaction Turbine

The Francis turbine, developed by James B Francis in Lowell, Massachusetts in 1849 is the most common water turbine in use today.   

A wicket gate around the outside of the turbines rotating runner controls the rate of water flow through the turbine for different power production rates.

Francis are the preferred turbine for hydro-power where the available water source has medium head and flow rates.

  • Power Output up to 30MW
  • Head Range 30 - 400 Mtrs
  • Horizontal & Vertical Arrangements
  • Over 1400 Installations Worldwide
  • Installations in 66 Countries


Gilkes Francis Turbines are available as either horizontal or vertical units. The water enters the spiral, or scroll case, and is directed by a series of moveable guide vanes, or wicket gates, to the turbine runner.  Gilkes Francis runners can be offered fully machined from a single forged block or as a casting solution.

As the water passes through the runner it rotates and the water pressure drops. Water is then discharged through a draft tube into the tailrace. Flow is controlled by opening or closing the guide vanes, using electric or hydraulic actuators, which, are self controlled by either a speed governor, for stand-alone duty, or, PLC control for parallel operation with the distribution grid.

Gilkes Francis model range includes 8 different specific speed designs. The Hydro team at Gilkes can advise on the best solution for your project. 

Advantages of the Francis 

  • High efficiency 
  • Suitable for a wide range of applications 
  • Compact construction 
  • Covers a wide head range 


The Francis turbine is the ideal choice for power recovery solutions in the water industry; where potential energy of flowing water from a pressurized water source can be utilized for power production.