Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Improving the efficiency of hydropower stations

12.03.2003


Hydroelectric power provides 16 per cent of Europe’s electricity, but most of the plants and their turbines were designed many years ago. By redesigning the runner - the propeller-like component that transfers energy from the water to the drive shaft in the turbine - EUREKA project FLINDT enables operators to harness more power from their turbines.

According to Professor François Avellan, Director of the Swiss main project partner, Laboratoire de Machines Hydrauliques de l’ EPFL, Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne, the project can also help hydropower stations store power and manage peak demands.

He says, “hydropower stations are managed too conservatively. Small adjustments, within safety parameters, to the runner of the hydraulic machine can dramatically improve the output from existing hydropower plants.”



The challenge the project faced was to understand and predict the complex fluid dynamics within the "draft tube" containing the runner. The draft tube is a key component in hydropower stations as it converts the kinetic energy of the water into pressure energy that can be utilised to drive turbines.

The partners spent thousands of hours investigating the flow in draft tubes using computer models and a scale model. This provided a better understanding of the physics of such flows, allowing the partners to build up an extensive experimental database and enabling the project to avoid undesirable phenomena such as “flow blockage” and other dangerous instabilities when redesigning runners. The knowledge gained can now be applied to improve the output of existing hydropower stations, adding significantly to the European power generation economy.

Water is returned to the river after use. Therefore, in addition to the direct environmental benefits of renewable energy, the project also has indirect benefits: a better understanding of the flow characteristics within the draft tube allows better control of the mixing process in this component, in particular the stresses and the air diffusion, which is of prime importance for the local river life.

The original FLINDT project ran from 1997 to 2000 but the partners agreed to extend the project by two years to carry out further research and are now looking to set up other research projects to investigate safety and reliability issues to push hydroplants to even greater efficiency.

According to Prof. Avellan the project had three major benefits - an increased knowledge about flow through draft tubes, development of the draft flow database and education of the PhD students involved with the project.

"EUREKA’s unique bottom-up approach brought together competitors in a very aggressive market to co-operate in research that benefits all,” he says.

Nicola Vatthauer | alfa
Further information:
http://www.eureka.be/flindt

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Stanford researchers develop a new type of soft, growing robot
21.07.2017 | Stanford University

nachricht Team develops fast, cheap method to make supercapacitor electrodes
18.07.2017 | University of Washington

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

Im Focus: On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes

The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....

Im Focus: The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through

A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...

Im Focus: Laser-cooled ions contribute to better understanding of friction

Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision

Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA looks to solar eclipse to help understand Earth's energy system

21.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

Stanford researchers develop a new type of soft, growing robot

21.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Vortex photons from electrons in circular motion

21.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>