Research and development
Research and development is one of the key success factors of ANDRITZ and is based on customer demands for continuous further optimization of products and services
As a result of the rise of renewable energy sources’ share in overall electricity production, system operators are facing challenges regarding grid stability, reliability of energy transmission, and flexibility of generating units. In its research and development activities, ANDRITZ HYDRO therefore focuses on flexible, speed-adjustable solutions for hydraulic energy generation. In particular, the generators, electrical and hydraulic equipment, and the higher-level control systems required for this were developed further.
As a result of the increasingly dynamic operations, developments in the fields of non-stationary flow simulation, fluid structure interaction, and oscillation diagnosis were intensified.
The research and development activities of ANDRITZ HYDRO are mainly focused on three areas:
- Turbine design
- Generator design
- Automation design
The research is conducted at several levels, from the development of optimal design features for individual machines, to the basic research on materials, fluid dynamics, structural mechanics, electrical design, and electronics.
The findings from basic research projects are quickly incorporated into product development and, at the same time, feedback from the power stations and customers is used as input for further product development and basic research.
Major tools for research and development are numerical simulation methods as well as experimental measurements in test rigs and on site. In both fields, ANDRITZ HYDRO uses high-quality equipment both with regard to measurement instrumentation and hardware as well as to simulation techniques and software.
Due to our global presence, the R&D team of ANDRITZ HYDRO is close to the customer and has access to research communities all over the world, a network which serves the exchange of knowledge and helps to create new ideas.
International associations rely strongly on the expertise of their members. The ANDRITZ HYDRO specialists participate actively in various committees, such as IEEE and IEC technical committees contributing to international standards and guidelines.
R&D activities in 2011
In collaboration with the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland, the “Hydrodyna” research project was successfully completed. During this project, valuable measuring data were obtained on pump turbine loading at low partial load. The target of further development work is to increase the lifetime of turbines, even under exceptional loads.
Cavitation at the tip of a Kaplan turbine blade can result in significant damage to the blade surfaces. This risk predictability was improved in the model test when a non-stationary CFD model (CFD: Computational Fluid Dynamics) and sophisticated measuring equipment were developed. As a result, reliability can be enhanced substantially, particularly in rebuild projects.
Completed was the development of a new concrete volute pump that achieves efficiencies beyond 90% at a flow rate of more than 70 m3/sec and a motor speed of 200 rpm, as well as a hydraulic system for volute pumps with metal casing for large delivery heads of 300-400 m, which achieves much better efficiency than comparable pump turbine hydraulic systems.
In the mining industry, large volumes of water are conveyed using submersible pumps in order to keep the mines dry. ANDRITZ has a new product group for submersible pumps with sizes up to 16 inches. The pump efficiency can be increased to over 80% and the motor efficiency to approximately 93.5%.