IEC - International Electrotechnical Commission

12/06/2023 | News release | Distributed by Public on 12/06/2023 03:06

Looking ahead for the hydroelectric industry

The Chair of IEC Technical Committee 4, which prepares standards for hydraulic turbines.

What are the main challenges for the hydroelectric industry in the future? EDF expert and IEC TC 4 Chair Pierre Maruzewski shares his insights with us.

Higher temperatures as a result of climate change have affected water distribution and availability. How is TC 4 addressing the issue?

Yes, water, or its lack of it, is becoming a fundamental issue. I work for EDF in France and the very long, hot and dry summer we endured had a major impact on the availability of water. Despite recent record rainfalls, we have not fully recovered our water capability. The market is adapting to the situation and manufacturers are proposing new types of turbines which work at lower power levels, or if you prefer lower water levels. But this means the machines are more likely to be subject to fatigue. We are about to publish a new standard dealing with the fatigue of turbines, quite an essential document. It will be released during the first quarter of next year and it is greatly awaited. IEC 63230 assembles all the information on different IEC and non-IEC Standards that exist on manufacturing and quality assurance.

There is a global effort to keep hydraulic installations running for as long as possible and rehabilitating them when necessary. As we all focus on the circular economy, what standards from TC 4 help with the rehabilitation of hydro power stations?

We are revising IEC 62256, which addresses turbine rehabilitation, life assessment and performance improvement. Some hydro installations have been around for more than 50 years, and their turbines need to be completely rehabilitated to continue operating. While it may seem costly, it is obviously less so than building a new installation from scratch.

Looking ahead, what new technology is likely to have an impact on hydraulic energy?

Additive manufacturing and 3D printing. The productivity gains would be huge for the industry. You could reduce the time spent on producing a turbine by around 50%.

I want to create a new working group on that topic. There is a need for a guide on which metals to use for the printing process, for instance.

Read the full interview in e-tech.