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 Did you know that the wrapping of Easter eggs benefits from specialty light sources?
13.04.2017 | Heraeus Noblelight GmbH

nachricht To e-, or not to e-, the question for the exotic 'Si-III' phase of silicon
05.04.2017 | Carnegie Institution for Science

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: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>