Monday, 20 July 2020

Clamp-On Flow Measurement to Keep Hydroelectric Plants Within Abstraction Limits

Katronic is helping a group of small hydroelectric plants in Italy to stay inside their abstraction limits by providing non-invasive, clamp-on flow measurement on iron inlet pipes, reliably and accurately measuring flow into the generator plant

As hydroelectricity generating plants age and become less efficient they require more water to generate a given amount of power. Katronic's Italian distributor Selemark was approached at an exhibition by an engineer who explained that the turbines in his company's hydroelectric plants have been in place since the 1950s and the higher water flow that they now require to meet generation targets meant that they are running the risk of breaching their permissions. In advance of a planned refurbishment, they needed a flow measurement solution, one that could be installed without interrupting power generation.

Proof of concept tests were undertaken using a Katronic KATflow 200 portable ultrasonic flowmeter. For permanent installation a number of maintenance-free mounting options are available, including rubber pads and/or a stainless steel mounting rail and cover, but for the test the standard coupling gel and mounting chain supplied with the KATflow 200 were used. Katronic flowmeters feature an Audible Sensor Positioning Assistant, making it straightforward to accurately place the transducers on the pipe to achieve the maximum signal strength, and clear and logical, prompt-led programming makes it easy to set up each unit.

The amount of rust on the inside of the pipe, along with the predicted flow velocity of between 3.1 and 4.9 m/s was expected to create a lot of turbulence and therefore a noisy signal, but the advanced signal processing in the KATflow 200 meant that the measurement of the flow rate settled almost immediately and gave a good result. An engineer from the end user was on site too, and they were able to verify the performance of the meter by varying the flow rate by known percentages and confirming the reading. 

Picture Credit: Selemark