Alstom, Grenoble institute launch hydraulic machines chair

Hydro equipment manufacturer Alstom has joined Partnership Foundation Grenoble INP to unite research efforts of academic laboratories in Grenoble and Alstom’s global technology center to develop the hydraulic machines of the future.

Alstom Hydro completed in 2013 an upgrade and expansion of its hydro research complex in Grenoble, which houses 650 employees, with teams specializing in engineering, project management and manufacturing.

The manufacturer announced in October it inaugurated with Partnership Foundation Grenoble INP an industrial chair called Hydro’Like at the Grenoble Institute of Technology (Grenoble INP) dedicated to hydraulic machines. In addition to uniting the research efforts, another goal is to enable the holder of the chair to acquire a worldwide profile in the hydropower field through substantial funding for an ambitious research program.

The work of the chair will be led by Olivier Metais, a professor at Grenoble INP – Ense3, with a budget of 1 million euros (US$1.27 million).

Alstom said the long term goal of Alstom and its partners is to equip its Grenoble center with an additional turbine test-rig that will be shared with the center’s private and public partners.

Alstom said a particular goal is to develop solutions that enable Alstom’s customers to increase the production regulating capacity of their hydroelectric plants and thus better incorporate intermittent generation from renewable energy sources into the grid. It said designing turbines capable of adapting to greater variations in power levels is one of the major milestones facing energy transition today.

The center of excellence is to allow the Alstom group to increase and sustain its operations in the Rhone-Alpes region by extending its activity and its joint research and development projects to more upstream research areas.

Alstom unveiled in October improvements to its Oceade tidal stream turbine, making it more efficient, cost-effective and easier to maintain that its previous models. Alstom issued fiscal year 2013-2014 results in May revealing strong performance in the hydropower market.

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