Condition monitoring for hydroelectric power plants

Hydropower plant operators have been relying on the effective monitoring solutions from Brüel & Kjær Vibro for decades. We monitor more than 750 hydroelectric machines under base and peak load, in reservoir, run-of-the-river and pumped storage power plants around the world.

The crucial quality advantage

  • Worldwide experience. Operators in Europe, Asia, Africa and South America rely on our extensive expertise. Because our condition monitoring solutions can accurately assess the machine states under all operating conditions, including during rapid run-up and coast down of machinery.
  • Flexible integration. Our solutions can integrate with customer-specific systems including those for process control (DCS or SCADA), production and maintenance management, emergency shutdown and surveillance systems. We pride ourselves on our flexible response to customer needs.
  • Your one-stop shop for end-to-end solutions. From machinery protection systems for simple hydro turbines to comprehensive monitoring installations of major hydropower plants, we deliver to all applications. Our monitoring solutions include process parameters as well as performance and complete generator monitoring.
  • Efficiency throughout the system life cycle. Our highly automated solutions ensure maintenance and follow-up services are very cost effective.
  • Extensive experience in vibration monitoring. Our solutions are based on more than 60 years of experience in vibration monitoring of rotating machinery. Our monitoring strategy includes several monitoring techniques, such as displacement sensors, velocity and acceleration sensors, and sensors for air gap, magnetic flux and partial discharge measurements. We are your one-stop shop for efficient and reliable condition monitoring for hydroelectric power plants.

Speak to a consultant

Over the past decades, many hydroelectric power stations have changed from continuous base load operation to periodic and partial load operation. This periodic operation has proven to be more cost-effective from an economical viewpoint, but places additional load on the generation units due to the increased frequency of starts/stops. Subsequently it is important to implement an effective safety and condition monitoring solution to ensure incipient faults are detected in time to avoid catastrophic failures and consequential downtime.

Many newer hydroelectric power stations are purpose built for peak load operation, such as pumped storage installations. These units are subject to multiple stops and starts like the periodic operations units, but with the added importance of availability on demand. Peaking hydroelectric generating units have to be fully operational when needed. An effective condition monitoring strategy is therefore required to ensure this availability on demand.

Most of our products for hydro monitoring can be easily interfaced to the customer’s process control system (DCS or SCADA), enterprise and maintenance management systems, emergency shut down system, operator work stations and even other monitoring systems that exist on-site. In many of these applications remote monitoring with secure communications over long distances is a requirement. The drawing below is an example:

We offer several monitoring solutions ranging from vibration monitoring machine protection systems for the simplest hydro turbines  to comprehensive monitoring solutions for larger machines that include process and efficiency and complete generator monitoring (PDA, air gap, magnetic flux, etc.).

For more information about the different types of monitoring techniques, please have a look at the the pictures below.

We are monitoring more than 750 hydro turbines around the world. Please contact your Brüel & Kjær Vibro Sales Representative if you need a list of references.

Here are some comments from our customers - they say it best:

"This system has successfully fulfilled our requirements and therefore we have decided to install the Air Gap and Magnetic Flux with Brüel & Kjaer Vibro COMPASS System on the other two units."

Elektrownia Wodna Zarnowiec SA, October 2007

"The service support from Brüel & Kjaer Vibro was perfect considering the very short performance time and lack of possibility to improve anything in the second approach and therefore we have no hesitation in recommending the COMPASS system and company Brüel & Kjær Vibro to other users."

PGE Energia Odnawialna S.A., September 2010

"The company Brüel and Kjær Vibro carried out our project work in a competent, efficient manner and to our full satisfaction. (....) we use the Brüel & Kjær Vibro system for monitoring more than 20 machines, of which some of them are pump storage power plants. The technical support from Brüel & Kjær Vibro proved to be professional, and therefore we would have no hesitation in recommending the Compass system to other companies."

Vorarlberger Illwerke AG, February 2016

Products we use for our condition monitoring solutions