The main feature of a run-off river hydroelectric system is a small size intake pond that overspills when river flow is more than turbines' intake. As river flow fluctuates, a large proportion of the potential energy is wasted due to the spillages which can occur when turbines are operated manually. Manual operation is often adopted due to unreliability of water level-based controllers at many remote and unmanned run-off river hydropower plants. In order to overcome these issues, this paper proposes a novel method by developing a controller that derives turbine output set points from computed mass flow rate of rivers that feed the hydroelectric system. The computed flow is derived by summation of pond volume difference with numerical integration of both turbine discharge flows and spillages. This approach of estimating river flow allows the use of existing sensors rather than requiring the installation of new ones. All computations, including the numerical integration, have been realized as ladder logics on a programmable logic controller. The implemented controller manages the dynamic changes in the flow rate of the river better than the old point-level based controller, with the aid of a newly installed water level sensor. The computed mass flow rate of the river also allows the controller to straightforwardly determine the number of turbines to be in service with considerations of turbine efficiencies and auxiliary power conservation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- Energy Engineering and Power Technology
- Energy (miscellaneous)
- Control and Optimization
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering