Hydropower Case Study Collection: Innovative Low Head and Ecologically Improved Turbines, Hydropower in Existing Infrastructures, Hydropeaking Reduction, Digitalization and Governing Systems
- more flexible turbines to cope with the frequent grid instabilities and flow rate variability : new regulation systems, e.g., the variable speed operation and new governors, is a major topic. Some of these aspects are here discussed with practical case studies (Section 2, Section 3 and Section 4, Section 13 and Section 17);
- the need for pump-as-turbines working also in pumping mode for pumping-storage hydropower plants ; the transient operation and the shift from the turbine to pump mode is worth investigation;
- new low head hydropower converters to be used in irrigation canals [10,11]; some of these are here discussed, like the Very Low Head (VLH) turbine, the Hydrostatic Pressure Machine (HPM) and the Vortex turbine, with their strength and limitations. In particular, one of the most important matters in the low head field is the power take-off, since low head converters generally rotate quite slowly;
- more fish-friendly solutions (fish passages and turbines with good ecological behavior), and sustainable solutions to minimize environmental impacts ; fish passages alone do not completely avoid fish collision with turbines so that the ecological behavior of the turbines must be improved (Section 6 and Section 16);
- energy recovery from drinking water distribution networks, non-powered dams and from the ecological flow of large dams ; this solution avoids new interruptions of the longitudinal connectivity of rivers, and some study cases are here presented (Section 9, Section 10, Section 11, Section 12 and Section 13);
- sustenance of local communities and electrification of rural areas ; hydropower sometimes leads to social impacts, e.g., reallocation of residents or alteration of the environment, especially in the case of big hydro plants. On the other side, hydropower can generate social incomes and benefits, like electrification, new roads and services, and local development, as described in Section 7;
- new best practices, strategies and additional reservoirs to minimize hydropeaking, to improve fish habitat. New materials are also under development.
- Better control and governing of hydropower plants:
- Fish-friendly solutions and reduction of environmental impacts:
- Section 5. An innovative solution to reduce the hydropeaking effect of hydroelectric power plants.
- Section 6. Biological Validation of Improved Direct Turbine Survival at Ice Harbor Lock and Dam.
- Section 7. Hydropower as a driving force for Alpine territorial development.
- Section 8. Diamond Bearings for hydrokinetic turbines.
- Recovery of existing structures for hydropower generation:
- Section 9. Hydroelectric development of an existing multiple-use reservoir.
- Section 10. Mini hydro on the environmental flow overflow structures.
- Section 11. Hydropower from the Susa Valley drinking water network.
- Section 12. Implementation of a multipurpose project on an irrigation plant by installation of an innovative counter pressure Pelton turbine.
- Section 13. Variable speed application for energy recovery hydropower in aqueducts.
- New low head hydropower converters:
- Section 14. Study of low-head hydrostatic pressure water wheels for harnessing hydropower of small streams.
- Section 15. The Mariucci turbine as the evolution of the Girard turbine.
- Section 16. Rehabilitation of a low-head gravitational vortex site with an improved vortex turbine.
- Section 17. The Very Low Head turbine in navigation locks.
2. New Speed Governors for Hydropower Plants: Case Study of Hone 1 Power Plant
2.1. RDF12© of CVA Overcomes the Hydrodynamic Limits
2.2. Hone 1 Power Plant
2.3. RDT14© Voltage Governor
3. Digital Twin for Penstock Fatigue Monitoring, Hydro-Clone Real-Time Simulation Monitoring System
3.2. La Bâtiaz Hydropower Scheme
3.3. Real-Time Computation and Validation of Penstock Stress
3.4. Fatigue Assessment
4. Better Management by Digitalization Software and De-Sedimentation Techniques
4.2. Efficiency and Combination Curve Optimization (ECCO)—Sauzalito Plant in Chile
- Annual Energy 2018 = 63 GWh; Additional Energy: 315 MWh (0.5% of greater efficiency).
- Annual Energy 2019 = 54 GWh; Additional Energy: 270 MWh.
4.3. HYDRA—Hydrological Module for GIS Portal
- Modeling hydrographic basins as per an EGP internal hydrological model—Static Calculations Module.
- Calculating at hourly level water resource availability forecasts in hydrographic basins, dams and reservoirs three days ahead—Dynamic Calculations Module.
- Providing insights on prioritization of reservoirs in operation, as per the available resource and stored energy (both in real-time and forecast modality).
- Alerting in case of forecasted Hydraulic Risks—Early Warning Module.
- Calculating the times of dams overflowing, in case of Hydraulic Risk (both in real-time and forecast modality).
4.4. Continuous De-Sedimentation Techniques for Hydro Power Plant Reservoirs
5. An Innovative Solution to Reduce the Hydropeaking Effect of Hydroelectric Power Plants. The Case of the S. Antonio Plant in Bolzano, Italy
5.1. Environmental Improvements
6. Biological Validation of Improved Direct Turbine Survival at Ice Harbor Lock and Dam
6.1. Geometry Development and Evaluation
6.2. Project Schedule
- Project Kick-off, Spring 2010.
- Start of Physical Model Testing, Spring 2011.
- Start of Fixed Blade Prototype Manufacturing.
- Spring 2013.
- Start of Unit 2 Prototype Installation, Winter 2017.
- Biological Testing of Unit 2, Fall 2019, Figure 23.
6.3. Unit 2 Biological Testing
- Estimate direct injury and survival of juvenile Chinook Salmon passing through Ice Harbor turbine Unit 2 at three operating points, as described below in Table 3.
- Determine type, severity and likely cause of injuries incurred to the fish passed through Unit 2.
- Test for significant differences in direct injury and survival estimates among the three turbine operating points.
- Compare the 2019 direct injury and survival results to historical study results from the 2007 evaluation of the existing adjustable blade Ice Harbor turbine Unit 3 .
Setup and Methodology
- Control fish were not exposed to the same tailrace predation risk as treatment fish due to water surface releases (none of the control fish were preyed upon).
- The primary goal of the study was to assess survival and injury directly associated with the turbine passage environment.
6.4. Results and Conclusions
7. Hydropower as a Driving Force for Alpine Territorial Development
7.1. The Maira’s Hydropower Plants
- the ability to make available and develop technical-organizational skills.
- the interest in supporting the local socio-economy (“territorial proximity”);
- consequently, the company’s strategy is based on the simultaneity of three specific elements:
- implementation of industrial interventions primarily aimed at water and environmental resources and renewable energy sources, in the sense of their enhancement.
- sustainability and respect for the landscape-environmental quality of the territory.
- generation and effective management of externalities for the benefit of the local community.
7.2. The Territorial Development Strategy
- 2009—M.Air.A., an initiative for a new broadband internet in the upper Maira valley, with free WiFi in the main hamlets.
- 2010—the management of the Campobase refuge (Figure 26), located at 1650 m a.s.l. in a magnificent alpine environment, to offer visitors overnight accommodation, food and assistance and mountain leisure activities and “school of mountain” opportunities.
- 2016—Formaira Srl for the use of local timber in a short and integrated supply chain: forestry activities, production and sale of semi-finished products for work, firewood, packaging, etc., production of wood chips, which is sold to third parties or used in thermal plants manufactured and managed by the company (Figure 27).
8. Diamond Bearings for Hydrokinetic Turbines
- Vesconite—an internally lubricated low friction polymer.
- CIP Marine—a laminated composite material made of textiles impregnated with thermosetting resins and solid lubricants.
- Feroform T814—a composite material made of woven fiber bonded with resin with polytetrafluoroethylene.
- a process fluid-cooled bearing-shaft assembly that: (1) completely eliminated seals, (2) reduced excess component weight (3) and removed the need for contaminating lubricants and ongoing maintenance.
- A diamond material—the hardest material on earth—that easily resisted abrasive particles and damaging sediment suspended in the water.
- A sliding-element bearing surface that: (1) handled higher loads, (2) minimized operational wear (3) and delivered a lower coefficient of friction (0.01).
9. The Complex Process of Hydroelectric Development of an Existing Multiple Use Reservoir
9.1. The Network of Partners
9.2. Technical Characteristics and Environmental Choices
- average flow rate: 10.54 mc/s.
- maximum flow rate: 26 mc/s.
- gross head: 9.66 m.
- nominal concession power: 998.20 KW.
- two Kaplan turbines with a vertical axis of mechanical power equal to 1207 and 603 KW—two synchronous generators with nominal power equal to 1476 and 800 KVA.
- double connection pipes between the lateral basin and the river, which were originally oversized and used to allow the water to get back into the river from the lateral reservoir. This was done by separating one of the two pipes in order to separate the flows. The inlets have been protected on the front by a concrete sill with the function of:
This design choice, compared to that initially assessed for the construction of independent intake, has allowed a substantial and quantifiable saving of 300,000 euros (300 thousands), avoiding a complex cutting operation of the bank of the lateral reservoir and its restoration of its waterproof structure.
- stopping of the hydroelectric intake on reaching a minimum water level in the river in order to ensure the level necessary for the irrigation;
- protection from the phenomenon of silting of the intake.
- Viability and access: the existing accesses, of adequate size and type, have made it possible to avoid the construction of expensive new roads and trails.
- Embankment of the lateral reservoir: this element ensures protection from the floods of the plant, built on the back of the embankment itself. Costs were avoided for the construction of protection screens, huge stone boulders, walls higher than the two-hundred-year period flood level. A reduction in the costs of the work of 200,000 euro is estimated.
- It is not possible to provide for the entrance with a vehicle inside the building except with a small van; assembly and disassembly interventions need to deal with greater management complexities.
- In order to support the excavations, especially because of the proximity of the downstream face of the weir, it was necessary to adopt secant and tangent poles with higher costs than a traditional solution with a building on the ground floor estimated at € 90,000. The higher cost of the work was largely compensated by a reduction in social costs and acceptance of the intervention. The existing weir is in fact an important point for cycle and pedestrian passage.
9.3. Construction Site Design and Construction Techniques Adopted
- A need to ensure that pedestrians and cyclists could walk through the road over the weir for the entire duration of the works with safe interference management.
- A need to ensure stability both in structural and hydraulic terms of the embankment between the lateral reservoir and the river as well as of the earth shoulder of the weir.
- Maintenance of the existing water supplies for the entire duration of the construction site and identification of a detailed schedule for the construction of the interfering works.
- Temporary works in order to keep the construction area site safe even with respect to flood events with return times of 200 years.
- Micro-tunneling that combines a pipe jacking technique with a remote-controlled shield machine. The thrusting force is distributed by hydraulic jacks located in the MTBM front section and operated by a thrust ring. Final injections of the interspace between pipeline and ground were planned (Figure 33a).
- Tunnel with traditional advancement method and consolidation treatment of the above embankment (Figure 33b).
- Trench excavation with support of the fronts through secant poles and construction of the penstock on site (Figure 33c).
10. Mini Hydro on the Environmental Flow Overflow Structures
- In winter (December–March): 392 L/s.
- In spring (April–July) and autumn (October–November): 549 L/s.
- In summer (August–September): 470.5 L/s.
11. Susa Valley Water System and Energy Generation from the Water Network
11.1. Susa Valley Water System Description
- Bardonecchia—Deveys: 20.85 km.
- Deveys—Chiomonte: 9.41 km.
- Chiomonte—Gravere: 3.42 km.
- the production plant is located at the end of a section fed by a reservoir.
- the water released by the turbines will be collected into another reservoir.
- water discharge will be not constant along the pipe since are present connections with the water distribution networks of the municipalities.
- thanks to an agreement between the hydropower and the water supply companies, the water released from the hydroelectric power plant is constant during the week but varies in the range 250–500 l/s with a monthly timescale.
- it is necessary to guarantee the regular exercise of the system, also in case of production plant failure.Based on the above observations, the planned hydroelectric plants will differ from ordinary plants principally because they must be able to adapt to the different operating conditions of the water supply system. In particular, under ordinary conditions, they must operate in upstream reservoir level regulation but must be able to detect anomalous operating situations by temporarily switching to an adjustment on the downstream reservoir level in order to limit any possible waste of water caused by the maximum level being overcome. Moreover, plants will be equipped with a by-pass valve in order to guarantee pressure dissipation also in case of production plant out of order, allowing managing pipe flow rate carried out routinely by the regulation system.
11.2. Electric Power Productibility
- Qmax: maximum flow rate;
- Zu: upstream altitude;
- Zt: turbine wheel altitude;
- Hg: altitude difference;
- Δh: head loss at the maximum flow rate;
- Havail: available head at maximum flow rate;
- Pmax: maximum electrical power, calculated with an efficiency of 0.85;
- Pn: generator nominal power.
- using the operating data provided for the water infrastructure design, the duration curve of the flow rates derived from the Bardonecchia intake has been calculated;
- the delivery nodes along the line for the supply of the various municipal aqueducts have been identified with an assignment of the operating rules of operation of the branch;
- the head losses in the individual sections of the pipe were estimated as a function of the flow rate determined as the difference between the flow rate derived from Bardonecchia and the flow rates subtracted along the line, by the Darcy–Weisbach equation;
- the effective hydraulic head has been calculated on the production groups;
- turbined flow estimated according to the operating rules assigned to the branches;
- power and energy generated estimation in the reference period of the operating rule and determination of the annual production.
- scenario 1: in this scenario, the water system supplies the municipal distribution networks with the maximum flow;
- scenario 2: in this scenario, the water system supplies the municipal distribution networks with 50% of the maximum flow;
- scenario 3: represents a further refinement of the previous scenario; here the derivation of the maximum flow rates was considered in the periods of maximum water requirement and applying a 20% reduction in the other periods.
12. Implementation of a Multipurpose Project on an Irrigation Plant by Installation of an Innovative Counter Pressure Pelton Turbine
12.2. Project Enrolment
12.2.1. Feasibility Study and Technical Key Dates of the Hydropower Plant
12.2.2. Authorization Phase
- To shift the powerhouse more upstream along the transport conduit, in order to gain the necessary height difference between the turbine axis and the water level in the pressure interruption chamber with the possibility to build the powerhouse underground;
- to install a reaction turbine (for example a Francis turbine);
- to install a classical Pelton turbine underground and to integrate it with a pump, able to cover the height difference between the tailwater level of the Pelton turbine and the water level of the pressure interruption chamber.
12.2.3. Implementation Phase
12.3. Discussion on Innovative Aspects of the Installed Hydropower Plant
12.3.1. Counter Pressure Turbine
12.3.2. Regulation of the Turbine
12.3.3. Closing Law of Turbine Closing Valve
13. Variable Speed Application for Energy Recovery Hydropower in Aqueducts
13.1. Hydropower from Aqueducts
13.2. Solcano SHPP
- High centrifugal forces at high-speed operation.
- High sliding speed for bearing, seals.
- Rotor dynamic calculation shall be performed to ensure resonance-free behavior over a wide range of operating speed.
13.3. Drinkable Water Compliance
- When only the bypass is operating, the valve is commanded to open to release the flow required by the aqueduct operation.
- When the turbine is also generating power, the bypass can be closed by the quantity corresponding to keep the processed flow constant.
13.4. Governor and Transients
- Highly variable power plant characteristics: variable speed.
- Water supply and quality: paints and coatings in accordance with regulation.
- The synchronous operation, with bypass branch. Sometimes, given the small size, it is not possible to install a large flywheel, and the characteristic times are very low. The maneuvers must be very rapid.
- The turbine synchronized with bypass through a smart system. Water availability and system safety to be assured.
- Given the small size, attention to returns and production of parts. Solid piece forging, CNC material to be preferred.
- Speed governor system required. Governing system complex, commissioning crucial for optimization.
14. Study of Low-Head Hydrostatic Pressure Water Wheels for Harnessing Hydropower of Small Streams
14.1. Experimental Set-Up and Results
14.1.1. The Herode Hydraulic Channel
14.1.2. PYTHEAS Technology’s Wheel
14.3. Conclusions and Perspectives
15. The Mariucci Turbine as Optimization of the Girard Turbine
Turbine Description: Working Principle, Flow Regulation and Efficiency
- distributor, nozzles, impeller, valves, rods for opening and closing the valves, sliding bands, templates for openings in the floors, are built with X2CrNi 18 10 steel.
- load-bearing structure is built with galvanized steel.
- transmission shaft, lower and upper supports, are built with S235 JO steel.
16. Rehabilitation of a Low-Head Gravitational Vortex Site with an Improved Vortex Turbine
16.1. Design Parameters
16.2. Low Ecological Impact
16.2.1. Ecologically Improved Design
16.2.2. Leading Edge Strike
16.2.3. Pressure Decrease
16.2.4. Rate of Pressure Decrease
16.2.5. Shear Strain Rate
17. Very Low Head Turbines on Navigation Locks
17.1. Steel Structures
18. Discussion and Conclusions
- Novel speed governors for hydropower plants, by Compagnia Valdostana delle Acque, Italy.
- Digital twin for penstock fatigue monitoring, by Power Vision Engineering, HES-SO Valais, Electricite d’Emosson Switzerland.
- Better management by digitalization software and de-sedimentation techniques, Enel Green Power, Italy.
- An innovative solution to reduce the hydropeaking effect of hydroelectric power plants, by Eisackwerk, Bioprogramm S.c, Italy.
- Biological Validation of Improved Direct Turbine Survival at Ice Harbor Lock and Dam, by Voith Hydro, and USA Army Corp, USA.
- Diamond Bearings for hydrokinetic turbines, by US Synthetic, USA and ORPC Inc., USA.
- Hydropower as a driving force for Alpine territorial development, by Hydrodata and Intecno, Italy.
- Hydroelectric development of an existing multiple use reservoir, by Consorzio Emilia Centrale, Studio di Progettazione AISE Engineering, Italy.
- Mini hydro in environmental flow, by Ingegneri Consulenti, Italy.
- Hydropower from the Susa Valley drinking water network, by SMAT, Italy.
- Implementation of a multipurpose project on an irrigation plant by installation of an innovative counter pressure Pelton turbine, by Patscheider & Partner Engineers Ltd., Italy.
- Variable speed application for Energy Recovery Hydropower in aqueducts, by ZECO Hydropower, Italy.
- Study of low-head hydrostatic pressure water wheels for harnessing hydropower of small streams, by Pytheas Tecgnology, France.
- The Mariucci turbine as evolution of the Girard turbine, by Teti srl, Italy.
- Rehabilitation of a low-head gravitational vortex site with an improved vortex turbine, by Turbulent, Belgium.
- The Very Low Head turbine in navigation locks, by STE Energy and RNB Hydro, Italy.
Conflicts of Interest
|FCR||frequency containment reserve|
|FRR||frequency restoration reserve|
|HydEA||Hydro Efficiency Analysis|
|KOOS||Kaplan Online Optimization System|
|O&M||Operation and Maintenance|
|Q||flow rate (m3/s, l/s)|
|P||power (kW, MW)|
|N||rotational speed (rpm)|
|WUA||weighted usable area|
|USACE||U.S. Army Corps of Engineers|
|BPA||Bonneville Power Administration|
|ORPC||Ocean Renewable Power Company|
|DN||nominal diameter (mm, m)|
|PMG||Permanent Magnet Generator|
|PRV||pressure reducing valve|
|PRS||Pressure Reduction Stations|
|ERH||Energy Recovery Hydropower|
|SHPP||Small Hydro Power Plant|
|FDC||Flow Duration Curve|
|ESD||Emergency Shut Down|
|HPM||Hydrostatic Pressure Machine|
|CFD||Computational Fluid Dynamics|
|u||runner tangential speed (m/s)|
|v||flow speed (m/s)|
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|A||24 h without ancillary service, no simultaneous stopping of both units|
|B||24 h without ancillary service, with two starts and stops of unit 2|
|C||24 h with only secondary control service (FRR)|
|D||24 h with primary and secondary control services (FCR + FRR)|
|Sediment Composition||Upper Part Sediment (Muddy Layer)||Lower Part Sediment|
|30% Solid Mass + 70% Water Mass *||40% Solid Mass + 60% Water Mass *|
|Density of solid||[t/m3]||2.00||2.38|
|Density of water||[t/m3]||0.98||1.00|
|Density of sediment||[t/m3]||1.16||1.30|
|Operating Points *||Head Range ** |
|Flow Range **|
|Discharge Corresponding to a 1% Efficiency Drop from the Peak Efficiency||29.78–29.84||349.7–353.1|
|Property Comparison: PCD with Other Engineering Materials|
|Modulus of Elasticity (GPa)||Hardness (GPa, Koop)|
|Micro-tunneling||2 penstock DN 2000/2500 PRFV/ca + 1 concrete channel for discharge DN 2000||Less interference with above road||910,000 euro/1,300,000 euro|
|Traditional tunnel||1 concrete penstock. DN 3600 mm|
1 concrete channel for discharge DN 2000
|Less interference with above road|
Low head loss
|Trench excavation||1 concrete penstock. DN 3600 mm|
1 concrete squared channel for discharge 2.5 × 2.5 m
|Low head loss|
Reduced structural and hydraulic interference with embankment
|Maximum retention height||m||99|
|Maximum regulation elevation||m a.s.l.||1458|
|Minimum regulation elevation||m a.s.l.||1395|
|Basin storage volume||million m3||29.4|
|Total head in maximum basin level 1||m||114|
|Total head in minimum basin level||m||51|
|[l/s]||[m asl]||[m asl]||[m]||[m]||[m]||[kW]||[kW]|
|Mean flow 1||Qmean||l/s||136|
|Minimum turbine flow 2||Qmin||l/s||140|
|Maximum turbine flow||Qmax||l/s||580|
|Gross capacity to be installed||P||kW||825|
|Yearly expected power output||E||GWh||~1.1|
|Expected costs||C||€||1 Mio.|
|Pelton counter pressure turbine, vertical axis, 4 nozzles|
|Number of buckets||21|
|Diameter of runner||mm||697|
|Width of bucket||mm||184|
|Maximum efficiency of turbine||%||91.5|
|Maximum electrical capacity||kW||803|
|Installed capacity of generator||kVA||873|
|Power need for compressor||kW||22.6|
|Freeboard between turbine axis and tail water level||mm||400|
|Diameter of casing||mm||2200|
|Height of casing||mm||2400|
|Impeller diameter||1.18 m|
|Blade row height||0.44 m|
|Nominal flow||1.5 m3/s|
|Predicted head||2.05 m|
|Net predicted power||14.1 kW|
|Net Measured power||13 kW|
|Predicted hydr. efficiency||54.6%|
|Measured hydr. efficiency||55.8%|
|Unit Speed N11||-||100||100|
|Unit Discharge Q11||-||0.68||0.625|
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Quaranta, E.; Bonjean, M.; Cuvato, D.; Nicolet, C.; Dreyer, M.; Gaspoz, A.; Rey-Mermet, S.; Boulicaut, B.; Pratalata, L.; Pinelli, M.; et al. Hydropower Case Study Collection: Innovative Low Head and Ecologically Improved Turbines, Hydropower in Existing Infrastructures, Hydropeaking Reduction, Digitalization and Governing Systems. Sustainability 2020, 12, 8873. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12218873
Quaranta E, Bonjean M, Cuvato D, Nicolet C, Dreyer M, Gaspoz A, Rey-Mermet S, Boulicaut B, Pratalata L, Pinelli M, et al. Hydropower Case Study Collection: Innovative Low Head and Ecologically Improved Turbines, Hydropower in Existing Infrastructures, Hydropeaking Reduction, Digitalization and Governing Systems. Sustainability. 2020; 12(21):8873. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12218873Chicago/Turabian Style
Quaranta, Emanuele, Manuel Bonjean, Damiano Cuvato, Christophe Nicolet, Matthieu Dreyer, Anthony Gaspoz, Samuel Rey-Mermet, Bruno Boulicaut, Luigi Pratalata, Marco Pinelli, and et al. 2020. "Hydropower Case Study Collection: Innovative Low Head and Ecologically Improved Turbines, Hydropower in Existing Infrastructures, Hydropeaking Reduction, Digitalization and Governing Systems" Sustainability 12, no. 21: 8873. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12218873