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European project will provide more flexible hydropower

Published: 14 December 2017

The increase of solar and wind power in the electricity system places greater demands on hydroelectric power to balance the power grid. In the Horizon 2020 project HydroFlex, where Luleå University of Technology participates, researchers will work to eliminate the biggest bottlenecks for flexible hydropower.

– The purpose of HydroFlex is to achieve scientific and technological breakthroughs to enable hydropower to operate with high flexibility in production and storage capacity. In the project, we will create an environmentally acceptable and technical basis for industrial development by conducting focused research that leads to innovations, says Staffan Lundström, Chaired Professor at Fluid Mechanics at Luleå University of Technology.

Want to minimize impact on rivers

The researchers will increase the knowledge of what happens to water turbines and generators when they start and stop many times a day and how this should be implemented. This is also something that will affect water flow.

– It is important to find solutions so that the flow in the regulated river is affected as little as possible, that is, so that the rapid variations in flow through the turbine can be dampened. We also need to study how hydropower production fits into the European energy system, says Staffan Lundström.

Close collaboration with NTNU

In the project, Luleå University of Technology will design a new type of turbine together with NTNU in Norway. In addition, they will model the flow in two rivers under different conditions, which is also done in collaboration with NTNU.

16 partners participate in HydroFlex, evenly distributed between academia and industry. In addition to Luleå University of Technology, the Swedish universities also include Uppsala University and Chalmers. Most participants are from Norway and Sweden, but also from Germany, Great Britain and Macedonia.