Optimization System for Kaplan Turbines
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Optimization System for Kaplan Turbines

With increased requirements for optimal water usage from Hydro Reservoirs and more competitive electricity markets, ENEL was looking to optimize their turbine efficiency without the need for a major system overhaul or significant machine downtime.

Working with REIVAX, optimizing the distributor positioning relative to the Kaplan runner blades using a Governor Software solution was identified as an elegant solution that could be more easily implemented than any alternatives.

 It is well known that Kaplan turbines performance is improved by optimizing their positioning between blades and the distributor. However, the typical procedure requires taking the machine offline for a testing period – something that can be cost prohibitive. It was therefore necessary to develop non-invasive solution that would limit any downtime.


Reivax R&D teams, working together with ENEL staff, instead developed an algorithm that uses a database of typical Kaplan turbine operating points, proximity points and optimal positioning of actuators to better predict parameters for the machine. This represented a novel approach and solution, that utilized extensive system data and modern Governor software capabilities. 

Once the concept was proven at the Cahoeira Dourada plant, it was subsequently easily deployed at the Sauzalito Plant also operated by ENEL.

By using these software techniques, they can be easily deployed across customer fleets and very rapidly optimize asset performance. Further, it is also a flexible solution that can achieve different goals depending on local requirements.

As demonstrated at Cachoeira Dourada, where ENEL achieved significant water savings for the same power output, through increased efficiency or a smaller flow rate. While at the Sauzalito Plant the solution increased the overall power Generated by the unit and improved dam water level control, with an added benefit to local fishing, wildlife, and communities.

The Cachoeira Dourada Hydro Plant, is a 658 MW dam driven by both Kaplan and Francis Turbines. It is located in Goiás, Brazil and owned by ENEL Green Power, a multinational power company operating across 30 countries and with headquarters in Italy

We would like to extend a special thank you to ENEL for their trust and support in the development of this project.