The Institute of Systems and Computer Engineering, Technology and Science (INESC TEC), EDP Produção and EDP CNECT are the three Portuguese organizations that are part of a European project to improve the efficiency of hydroelectric plants. The project, known as Xflex Hydro, has a budget of 18 million euros, is funded by the European Commission and is being led by the Lausanne Federal Polytechnic School (EPFL) in Switzerland.
Together with 15 other institutions from five other countries – France, Austria, Spain, Germany and the United Kingdom – the aim is to develop new technologies that make hydroelectric power station turbines and pumps more efficient and to create, for example, smart controllers and turbines. variable and fixed speeds more effective.
«The idea of the project involves the development of new technological solutions that will integrate hydroelectric plants of various types, aiming to contribute to improve their performance and efficiency, and thus contribute to the decarbonisation of the energy sector by facilitating greater integration of other renewables characterized by high temporal variability and very low controllability ”, explains in a statement Carlos Moreira, project coordinator at INESC TEC and professor at the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto (FEUP).
The improvements achieved should contribute to Europe's goal of producing 32% of its energy from renewable sources by 2030. The testing of the new systems will be done in Switzerland, France and Portugal – with the Frades, Alqueva, Alto Lindoso and Caniçada to be chosen in Portuguese territory for the tests.
Research and testing results will be shared with the European Commission in 2023 and should include technology adoption recommendations as well as policy and market recommendations.