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Eaton to help US DOE in advancing hydropower generation

EBR Staff Writer Published 22 September 2017

Eaton will deliver hydropower turbines at existing non-powered dams and waterways in the US as part of an initiative from the US Department of Energy (DOE).

Under the scope of a second stage of a contract awarded by the DOE earlier in the year, the American power management company Eaton will manufacture and test low-cost integrated hydropower turbine and generator sets.

The new equipment from Eaton is expected to improve the cost-effectiveness of hydropower generation facilities across the US. This phase of the project is anticipated to be completed next year.

Eaton research and technology principal engineer David Yee said: “According to Energy Department assessments, more than 50 gigawatts of potential capacity remains untapped at existing small-scale hydropower sites, which is a huge potential resource for renewable energy.

“Eaton is leveraging decades of manufacturing and engineering expertise to help innovate hydro turbine technology to improve economics in small-scale hydropower applications and make renewable power more accessible to developers.”

Eaton was awarded the first phase of the project in 2014 which focused on turbine design, analysis and optimization.

Under that contract, the company had carried out a system architecture and trade study to determine sizes of components with an objective to streamline system cost, performance and versatility for non-powered dam sites in the country.

Eaton says that the project will help the advance technology of DOE’s Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) to grow and modernize the hydropower fleet in the US.

The power management company plans to put in place additive manufacturing processes and create new products that can reduce engineering costs and the overall cost of energy for hydropower plants.