Highlights from the second phase

To round off the second phase of the SCCER-SoE from 2016 to 2020, we invite you again to learn more about a collection of our research highlights. We will publish the articles throughout 2020.

The extension of existing hydropower reservoirs substantially contributes to the Energy Strategy 2050

The extension of existing hydropower reservoirs substantially contributes to the Energy Strategy 2050

With the implementation of the Energy Strategy 2050, the demand for seasonal storage of electricity increases. One option is to extend existing reservoirs of storage hydropower plants by heightening their dams. Researchers from the Laboratory of Hydraulics, Hydrology and Glaciology (VAW) at ETH Zurich evaluated the possibilities and potential benefits of heightening 38 dams in the Swiss Alps. They concluded: If 17 to 26 dams were heightened by up to 20 %, a total of 2.2 to 2.9 TWh of electric energy per year could be additionally shifted from summer to winter. This corresponds to the household electricity consumption of 1.7 to 2.2 million inhabitants during winter.

Scale matters – providing the missing validation of air-water flow research in hydraulic infrastructures

Scale matters – providing the missing validation of air-water flow research in hydraulic infrastructures

High-velocity air-water flows commonly occur in human-made hydraulic infrastructures such as spillways and low-level outlets at reservoir dams. Air entrainment significantly affects the flow properties of the resulting water-air-mixture and must be considered in the design of these safety-relevant structures. However, existing design guidelines primarily take into account physical model tests, which may be subject to scale effects. An SCCER-SoE project at the Laboratory of Hydraulics, Hydrology and Glaciology (VAW) at ETH Zurich aims at providing prototype data necessary to assess the extent of these scale effects.