German engineering firm Voith has partnered with Icelandic national power company Landsvirkjun to launch a joint pilot project for cavitation monitoring in hydropower plants.
Cavitation refers to the phenomenon where vapour bubbles are formed in localised areas of low pressure. Eventually, these vapour bubbles collapse causing high-pressure peaks that damage the surfaces of the turbine runner in the long-run.
Under the pilot project, Voith will install an add-on function for its OnCare.Health conditioning monitoring at the Budarhals hydropower plant in Iceland.
The objective of the project is to quantify the impacts of cavitation and identify ways to reduce machine downtimes and associated operating and maintenance costs.
Usually, cavitation does not occur within the normal operating range. However, the chances of cavitation increase when the operators tend to increase the existing operating range to boost the flexibility of the hydropower plants.
The monitoring system will also help in identifying the frequency of cavitation incidents under such cases.
Voith has been associated with upgrading the Budarhals hydropower plant for several years.
In 2014, the company installed two modern, environmentally compatible Kaplan turbines at the plant. The German firm was also involved with supplying electrical and mechanical equipment, crane systems for the powerhouse and the control systems for the power plant.
Additionally, Voith has delivered other digital solutions at this hydropower facility.
The Budarhals plant, situated around 150km to the east of Reykjavík, has an installed output of 95MW and is capable of generating nearly 585GWh annually.
Founded in 1867, the Voith Group caters to multiple markets such as energy, oil & gas, paper and transport among others.
Last year, the company announced plans to make its worldwide operations carbon-neutral from 2022.