Hydro adviser LLC is a specialized company based in Zurich (CH), owned and operated by Dr. Peter Doerfler. I offer support to companies in the hydropower business, for avoiding and abatement of flow-induced vibration and pulsations. After many years of activity engaged in hydraulic model testing, project work, commissioning, and research, I am in a position to give competent advice along the life cycle of a hydropower project.
Troubles due to high levels of pulsation or vibration are not uncommon in hydropower plants. Even today they are not safely predictable, despite all the care exercised in the process of design and model testing. In some installations their intensity, or sometimes the mere uncertainty about possible risk of fatigue, has caused undesired operating restrictions. This can be rectified if the root cause is properly identified and effective means of abatement are implemented. Incorrect diagnostics, on the other hand, is prone to entail disappointing results, futile expense, and finally one more ‘corpse in the armour’. In many cases it will be necessary to consider several different possibilities, in order not to miss the proper understanding of the problem.
Today, with mounting requirements for increased operational flexibility of the units, mechanical risks due to dynamic load are clearly rising. The units are expected to operate for a considerable share of time in an extended range of load conditions, further away from their design point; the impact of dynamic loads is rising progressively with more off-design operation.