German utility RWE Power AG has named Zenergy Power GmbH to study the potential increase in electrical output to be gained from employing superconductor technology at RWE’s hydropower plants on the Mosel River.
RWE commissioned Zenergy Power GmbH, a subsidiary of Zenergy Power plc, to provide a detailed evaluation on the potential of using superconductor variable speed governors to increase efficiency and output of nine of its ten run-of-river projects on the Mosel.
Zenergy said superconductive materials, first discovered in 1911, are capable of conducting electricity with no resistance. Zenergy’s three operating subsidiaries in Germany, the United States, and Australia focus on commercialization of a number of energy efficient applications.
Zenergy will analyze data from one selected plant on the river, taking into account water flow rates, turbine efficiencies, and turbine conditions. That study will be used to estimate the effect of Zenergy’s superconducting technology on eight similar plants.
When RWE receives the results in the second half of 2009, it will conduct an economic evaluation of the business case for replacing conventional generators with the new technology. RWE operates ten Germany hydro plants totaling 180 MW on the Mosel system, which also includes two other hydro plants on the Germany-Luxembourg border and two in France.