The electrical market prices fluctuations are driving the ageing rate of hydropower infrastructures. Starts and stops, as well as pressure oscillations, mechanically stress the penstocks and pipelines. In contrast to valves or turbines, penstocks are very difficult and costly to refurbish or replace. Therefore, hydropower infrastructure operators seek to optimize the maintenance to extend the operation life and safety of their infrastructure. In this work, scientists from the HES-SO show how the use of a numerical clone helps to achieve this by assessing the degradation of the penstocks and other components.
In the context of electrical prices volatility, the maintenance strategy takes a significant role in hydropower asset management. It should be optimized to ensure the penstock safety and the total power production over the full operation period. Today, primary and secondary control increase even the amount of mechanical solicitation on the steel linings of pressure vessels. In this work, scientists from the HES-SO evaluate the fatigue damage accumulation of penstocks. They use a numerical clone (called Hyro-clone©, developed by Power Vision Engineering) of the la Bâtiaz penstock of Energie Electrique d’Emosson where they have installed it.
Hydro-clone© is an innovative Real-Time Simulation Monitoring System comprising a soundly calibrated and validated numerical copy of the hydropower plant and is able to reproduce in real-time any dynamic behaviour of the plant’s installations based on boundary conditions measured in situ. This system continuously diagnoses the health of the hydropower plant by numerical cloning, its major hydraulic and electrical components . The Hydro-clone system has been implemented and tested since 2014 at the 200 MW La Bâtiaz power plant and has been operating continuously for five years .