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Energies 2017, 10(11), 1717; https://doi.org/10.3390/en10111717

A Computed River Flow-Based Turbine Controller on a Programmable Logic Controller for Run-Off River Hydroelectric Systems

1
College of Engineering, Universiti Tenaga Nasional (UNITEN), Jalan Ikram-Uniten, Kajang 43000, Selangor, Malaysia
2
Generation Research Department, Tenaga Nasional Berhad Research (TNBR), Kajang 43000, Selangor, Malaysia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 31 July 2017 / Revised: 15 September 2017 / Accepted: 18 September 2017 / Published: 27 October 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hydropower 2017)
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Abstract

The main feature of a run-off river hydroelectric system is a small size intake pond that overspills when river flow is more than turbines’ intake. As river flow fluctuates, a large proportion of the potential energy is wasted due to the spillages which can occur when turbines are operated manually. Manual operation is often adopted due to unreliability of water level-based controllers at many remote and unmanned run-off river hydropower plants. In order to overcome these issues, this paper proposes a novel method by developing a controller that derives turbine output set points from computed mass flow rate of rivers that feed the hydroelectric system. The computed flow is derived by summation of pond volume difference with numerical integration of both turbine discharge flows and spillages. This approach of estimating river flow allows the use of existing sensors rather than requiring the installation of new ones. All computations, including the numerical integration, have been realized as ladder logics on a programmable logic controller. The implemented controller manages the dynamic changes in the flow rate of the river better than the old point-level based controller, with the aid of a newly installed water level sensor. The computed mass flow rate of the river also allows the controller to straightforwardly determine the number of turbines to be in service with considerations of turbine efficiencies and auxiliary power conservation. View Full-Text
Keywords: hydropower; hydroelectric; run-off river hydroelectric; renewable energy; river flow; computed river flow; turbine controller; programmable logic controller; ladder logic hydropower; hydroelectric; run-off river hydroelectric; renewable energy; river flow; computed river flow; turbine controller; programmable logic controller; ladder logic
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Jidin, R.; Othman, A.B. A Computed River Flow-Based Turbine Controller on a Programmable Logic Controller for Run-Off River Hydroelectric Systems. Energies 2017, 10, 1717.

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