HydroFlex aims to increase the value of hydro power through increased Flexibility. The commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change has been an important contributor to the increasing share of renewables in the European energy system. Variable renewable energy sources such as wind and solar, as well as increased end-user flexibility and a market-oriented operation of power plants, results in larger fluctuations in the power system. Hydro power, due to its quick response and storage capability represents an important asset for grid balancing. HydroFlex aims to make hydro power available in a time as short as possible by performing well-focused research and innovation actions on the key bottlenecks of hydro power plants that restricts their flexibility. The project will start off by identifying the operating conditions of hydro power plants in the future energy system. Research will be focused on the flexibility of Francis turbines, the most common turbine type in Europe, and the configuration of synchronous generators and frequency converters that allow for variable speed operation. Variable speed operation increases the operating range of the turbines, reduces the fatigue loads, and allow for higher ramping rates and start-stop-cycles reaching up to 30 times per day. HydroFlex also addresses methods to mitigate the negative effects on downstream water courses that may result from higher flexibility of hydro power plants, by developing and testing a technology for active underground storage of water. To promote the research results to the hydro power industry, the scientific community and the public, the results will be presented in workshops, conferences, scientific journals, newspapers and various social media.
Fields of science
Call for proposal
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Funding SchemeRIA - Research and Innovation action