Hydroelectric Power Plant Control Systems

Hydroelectric power plants use hydraulic structures to perform many of a plant’s operations. An integral part of the hydroelectric power generation process is the turbines that spin to create energy.

Each turbine has several blades and each blade weighs about 15,000 pounds. When all blades are attached to the turbine, the load is balanced. These turbine blades are always in action, spinning under constant pressure with a balanced load. The turbines are running constantly, so they often require regular maintenance to keep them performing optimally. Due to the immense size and weight of these blades, removing one blade for maintenance creates an imbalance on the turbine. This imbalance puts immense stress on the turbine that could potentially damage it.

When facility personnel removed a turbine blade for maintenance in the past, they would physically balance the turbine load using wooden blocks, chains, and pulleys. Maintenance crews were being put into dangerous situations trying to manually balance turbines to perform necessary turbine blade maintenance. Hydroelectric companies were desperate for a better way to perform maintenance on turbines.

Pneumatic and Hydraulic Company has worked with hydroelectric plants to create pressurized control systems that would attach to the base of a turbine and balance it when a turbine blade was removed. This would normally knock the turbine out of balance, but our control system holds the turbine in balance.

Rather than the previous method of using wooden blocks, pulleys, and chains to hold turbines in place during maintenance. Our system is made up of two hydraulic power units and two counterbalance valves which hold the turbine in place in a much safer and efficient way.

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