Voith and Landsvirkjun embark on innovative cavitation

25 May 2020

Innovative cavitation

Voith and Icelandic national power company Landsvirkjun are embarking on a joint pilot project on innovative cavitation monitoring in hydropower plants. The technology group will install the innovative system, an add-on function for its OnCare.Health conditioning monitoring, at the Budarhals hydropower plant in Iceland.

The purpose of the new process is to quantify the effects of cavitation to reduce operating and maintenance costs and machine downtimes. Cavitation is the formation of vapor bubbles due to localized areas of low pressure. When the vapor bubbles collapse, they cause high-pressure peaks that damage the surfaces of the turbine runner in the long run. Cavitation is usually avoided by effective design and generally does not occur within the normal operating range. Due to the increasing requirements to make existing plants more flexible in conjunction with other renewable energies such as wind power, it is becoming worthwhile for operators to extend their existing operating range, even though this can cause cavitation to occur. With the help of the monitoring system, the incidence of cavitation in the event of an extended operating range can be evaluated against the additional benefit provided.