Tech Notes

ICOLD Forum: New committee releases work plan

Click to EnlargeA new International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD) committee has released its work plan and intends to publish a position paper later in 2009. The ICOLD Committee on Engineering Activities Associated with the Planning Process for Water Resources Projects was established in 2007; seven countries are represented on the committee. Arthur H. Walz Jr., P.E., former ICOLD vice president, is chairman of the new committee.

The position paper has five purposes, Walz says.

– Focus on the development and management of water resources using integrated water resources management in the watershed;

– Summarize the current basic planning process being used for water resources projects;

– Articulate the need to improve the process in order to plan realistic and sustainable water resources projects with accurate cost estimates;

– Present and discuss enhancements needed to the process to ensure the selection of better and more cost-effective alternatives; and

– Present what ICOLD will recommend as a new strategy and process, which includes initial guidance from the decision-makers, input from all technical disciplines, collaboration with stakeholders and the public, and an external review, if needed. This new strategy and planning process, Comprehensive Vision Based Planning, is based on a systematic and holistic or watershed approach to both comprehensive planning and integrated water resources management.

The position paper is scheduled to be published in the fall of 2009, and the committee’s next step is to publish guidelines. Walz says the guidelines likely will be available in 2010.

– ICOLD is a nongovernmental organization that provides a forum for the exchange of knowledge and experience in dam engineering. The organization leads the profession in ensuring that dams are built safety, efficiently, and economically, and without detrimental effects on the environment. To learn more about ICOLD activities, contact Michel De Vivo, Secretary-General, ICOLD 151, Bd Haussman, Paris 75008 France; (33) 1-40426824; E-mail:

Voith Hydro updates German laboratory

Voith Hydro recently updated its Brunnenmuehle laboratory in Heidenheim, Germany. This work, which cost more than 20 million euros (US$25.9 million), included doubling the capacities of the test rigs, installing super-computers for more precise simulations, and constructing a new office building.

Friedrich Voith, son of company founder Johann Matthaeus Voith, founded this hydroelectric turbine testing laboratory in 1908. The location had been a mill. To power the turbines, Friedrich Voith used a water storage tank above the facility to construct the first pumped-storage plant in Germany.

The Bruennenmuehle laboratory offers research and development services for all Voith Hydro operating units worldwide. In addition to being a model testing facility, the laboratory is a development center for complete hydro units, including generators, excitation and control systems, and components (such as butterfly and spherical valves).

EPRI seeks funding of generator repair research

EPRI is seeking $180,000 in funding from the hydroelectric industry to support research on how to restore safe operation of a generator after failure of one or more coils in the stator winding.

The institute seeks supporters who will provide $30,000 each. Companies that fund any EPRI program can take advantage of tailored collaboration funds for up to half of their contribution, says Jan Stein, senior project manager.

After failure of a stator winding, project personnel can isolate, or cut out, the failed coil from the rest of the winding and quickly return the units to service, Stein says. In addition, one or more healthy coils may need to be cut out from the electrical circuit to ensure the electric current distribution in the remaining winding does not cause thermal damage to the insulation. Use of temporary repair procedures such as this can keep a machine in service until it can be permanently repaired or replaced, providing substantial economic benefit, Stein says.

This research project updates work described in EPRI report EL-4983, Synchronous Machine Operation with Cutout Coils, published in 1987. Work on this project, which is estimated to take 18 months, will begin as soon as all participants are identified.

The objectives of this project are to:

– Update and expand calculations about how many and which coils can be safely cut out;

– Provide guidance for performing parallel circuit current measurements to validate stator winding operation within its thermal limits;

– Learn more about the effect of the winding with cut-out coils on vertical shaft run out; and

– Document worldwide experience and practices.

– For more information about funding this research, contact Jan Stein at (1) 650-855-2390; E-mail:

Brazil university begins study of fish passage at dams

Research is needed to determine how to preserve the about 4,500 species of migratory fish in South America and to build and monitor fish passage devices at dams, says Dr. Paulo dos Santos Pompeu, department of biology at the Universidade Federal de Lavras
in Brazil.

To provide more information on protecting fish species in South America, researchers at the university are launching several studies. Dr. Pompeu says the studies include:

– Baseline biological studies before dams are built. These studies are vital to provide information on migratory movements and determine if fish passage is necessary or would be beneficial.

– Determination of critical habitats for each life stage of the various species and the effects of fragmentation of those habitats by dams and impoundments. This research is needed to determine if a river section that will be flooded by a reservoir associated with a hydro project is a critical habitat for certain fish species.

– Long-term monitoring to assess the efficacy of fish passage and its relative benefits to biological communities both upstream and downstream of dams. This will provide longer-term information, as most studies are completed two years after the reservoir is formed and many fish passage devices are not monitored.

– Development of technologies for passing bottom-dwelling species. This will help improve passage of bottom-dwelling fish, such as large migratory catfish, which may not be passed efficiently by traditional passage facilities at dams in South America.

– Assessment of passage needs for non-migratory fish. This study is intended to determine whether passage over dams is important for non-migratory fish species, to maintain genetic flow between populations in the river.

– Development and implementation of downstream passage technologies for eggs, larvae, and juveniles. Developing passage technologies for all stages is crucial to allow eggs and larvae to reach areas where they can develop and to allow for dispersion of juvenile fish.

HydroVision International announces call for technical abstracts

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PennWell Corporation, organizer of the HydroVision International conference and exhibition, is ac¬cepting abstracts for the Technical Papers program. The conference will be held July 27-30, 2010, in Charlotte, N.C, United States.

Abstracts are requested on all topics of interest to technical professionals in the hydropower field. Preference will be given to abstracts that focus on innovative, practical, and proven technologies and methods.

Abstracts that describe the focus and content of proposed papers (maximum of 400 words) are due October 30, 2009. Submit abstracts through the Internet at:

All abstracts submitted will be reviewed by the conference Technical Committee. If accepted, authors will be invited to submit a paper by April 30, 2010, for inclusion in the official conference publication (in CD-Rom format) that will be distributed to all conference delegates.

– For more information, contact (1) 918-831-9736 or E-mail:

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