Reclamation awards $80,000 in competition seeking to improve hydro facility reliability

Bureau of Reclamation

The Bureau of Reclamation has selected seven teams to share $80,000 in prize awards as phase one winners in the Automated Maintenance of Protection Systems Challenge.

This competition challenged the public to develop innovative solutions that make power systems more reliable by automating maintenance testing of protective relays and transformers.

The AMPS Challenge consists of two phases. In the first phase, solvers submitted a paper that demonstrates their knowledge of the problem, the approach they will use to solve the problem and a description of how they will develop a prototype.

The winning teams each receive $10,000 and continue to the second phase to develop their prototype. Reclamation will test the top five prototypes in 2022. The overall winner will receive up to $100,000 and have the potential for a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement or other technology transfer agreement to refine their solution further.

“Solutions here will assist Reclamation and other partners to increase efficiencies in monitoring, testing and automating existing protection systems at its hydropower facilities, said Senior Advisor for Hydropower Max Spiker. “By complimenting traditional design research to target the most persistent science and technology challenges we face today, the AMPS problem solvers further Reclamation’s mission to protect hydroelectric plants and, ultimately, strengthen safety and reliability overall.”

The winners are:

  • Michael Gemmer, U.S.
  • Seyed Mohammadhadi Rahavi, Canada (two submissions selected for award)
  • MultiSequence Inc., U.S.
  • Mohammad Maqsudur Rahman, Bangladesh
  • Jose Andrés Quintanilla, Sweden
  • Brett Michael Wilson and Professor Jian Guo Zhu, Australia
  • Matthew Wolter and Matthew Paul, U.S.

Reclamation is partnering with the Western Area Power Administration, Bonneville Power Administration, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Department of Energy’s WaterPower Technologies Office, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, NASA Tournament Lab, and Arrow Electronics on this prize competition.

Reclamation conducts prize competitions to spur innovation by engaging a non-traditional, problem-solver community. It has awarded more than $4 million in prizes through 29 competitions in the past six years.

Reclamation, a federal agency under the U.S. Department of the Interior, is the largest wholesale water supplier and second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the U.S.

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Elizabeth Ingram is content director for the Hydro Review website and HYDROVISION International. She has more than 17 years of experience with the hydroelectric power industry. Follow her on Twitter @ElizabethIngra4 .

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