Investigation of coupled fluid-structure dynamics in transient Francis turbines- Tr-FRANCIS

Hydroelectricity accounts for 60% of Canadian electricity production. Over the past 20 years or so, the way in which hydro turbines operate has evolved to accommodate the opening of markets and the introduction of intermittent energy sources to the grid. Hydro turbines are subject to more start-ups and spend more time in no-load regimes to provide spinning reserve. These changes have amplified structural ageing problems resulting in increased cracking problems on the impeller blades leading to production losses and increased maintenance costs. The Laboratoire de Machines Hydrauliques de l'Université Laval (LAMH) and the members of the Consortium en Machines Hydrauliques (ANDRITZ HYDRO Canada, GE Renewable Energy, VOITH Hydro, EDF and Hydro-Québec) have decided to undertake the Tr-FRANCIS project, the objective of which is to study the fluid-structure interactions during start-up or no-load operation of a Francis turbine. This pre-competitive project should enable the industrial partners to optimise the design and operation of Francis turbines in order to increase their operating flexibility without penalising their service life. Through collaboration between researchers in hydrodynamics and structural dynamics, the specific objectives of Tr-FRANCIS are - To provide a test case for the development of relevant numerical and experimental methods for the study of fluid-structure interactions in Francis turbines; - To develop the knowledge of the participants and the community on fluid-structure interactions during start-up and operation in no-load regimes. The research is centred around a model Francis turbine representing a 140 MW turbine operated by Hydro-Québec. The project is designed to provide model data that can be transposed to the real machine, both for the fluid and structural parts.

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