GE Renewable Energy today unveiled its new solution to perform underwater hydropower turbine inspection. Based on remote operated vehicles (ROV) equipped with sensors and cameras, GE’s Hydro Solutions’ underwater robotized turbine inspection solution can inspect hard-to-reach areas of any type of hydropower turbines without dewatering the equipment. Designed, developed and tested with GE Research Center, this solution is the next step in hydropower turbine condition assessment.
Pascal Radue, President and CEO of GE’s Hydro Solutions, said, “The hydropower industry is driven by the need for more flexibility and availability. Our customers are looking for new solutions to better manage their plants and respond efficiently to fluctuation in supply and demand. That’s why we strive to keep our customers’ asset downtime as low as possible. This robotic solution will help us to meet these expectations.”
This new condition assessment methodology allows on-demand and high-quality inspections with comparable results to dry visual inspection without having the services team enter into a turbine’s confined space. The customized design of the ROV is a first in the hydropower condition assessment field as this new solution is able to inspect between runner blades of a turbine within openings of less than 200 mm. The same defects as conventional visual inspection can be detected: erosion, cavitation, corrosion, impact marks and presence of foreign bodies. Easy deployment, limited personnel requirement, and elimination of non-productive tasks and EHS risks all combine to reduce the overall inspection cost. Experts review the information in real-time to ensure proper inspection of all critical surfaces. Video images are also recorded for further analysis if needed.
Roberta Galli, Hydro Services Leader, said, “Advances in underwater ROV technology have been tremendous in the past few years. As its use is progressively spreading in the hydropower industry, we wanted to accelerate its deployment with our cutting-edge underwater condition assessment solution. Our large assessment portfolio enables us to inspect our customers’ hydropower equipment more quickly and more efficiently and provide faster services recommendations to better serve them.”
The validation process of this breakthrough solution was performed at five hydropower plants in Canada. Trash racks, intake gates, vertical and horizontal turbines and downstream gates were successfully inspected. Inserting a 360-degree camera between the blades of Francis runners allowed teams to visually inspect the distributor, runner and draft tube.
About GE Renewable Energy
GE Renewable Energy is a $15.7 billion business which combines one of the broadest portfolios in the renewable energy industry to provide end-to-end solutions for our customers demanding reliable and affordable green power. Combining onshore and offshore wind, blades, hydro, storage, utility-scale solar, and grid solutions as well as hybrid renewables and digital services offerings, GE Renewable Energy has installed more than 400 gigawatts of clean renewable energy and equipped more than 90 percent of utilities worldwide with its grid solutions. With nearly 40,000 employees present in more than 80 countries, GE Renewable Energy creates value for customers seeking to power the world with affordable, reliable and sustainable green electrons.