Energy Efficiency, Hydropower

Tech Notes

Issue 6 and Volume 18.

Electrolysis prevents penstock fouling at Russian plant

Seawater electrolysis is being used to prevent biological corrosion of the penstocks at the 400 kW Kislaya Guba tidal project in Russia.

There are 350 kinds of algae and foulants in the Kislaya Bay of the Barents Sea, says Igor N. Usachev, director of the Science-Technical Center of Tidal Energy at the Scientific Research Institute of Energy Structures in Moscow (formerly the Scientific-Research Sector of Gidroproekt). Without protection, fouling in this area of the plant reaches 230 kg/m2. Fouling decreases flow rate and electricity production, as well as facility service life.

To protect against fouling at Kislaya Guba, Gidroproekt and The Black Sea Research Institute of Ship-building Technology developed a prototype electrolysis plant. This plant includes a fire- and explosion-proof electrolyzer installed in a 1 meter-long pipe with a diameter of 14 cm. The electrolyzer uses saltwater to form a hypochlorite solution that is fed via two spray atomizers into the penstock. A concentration of 1 g/m3 of hypochlorite in water ensure complete protection from fouling, whether used continuously or in batches (about 30% of the time). This concentration repels foulant larvae but does not destroy them. The electrolysis plant can be used for seawater salinity up to 38% and temperature up to 30 degrees Celsius.

This plant began operating in 1979, and the safety and efficacy has been confirmed by long-term biological monitoring, Usachev says.

Developers have since used a similar anti-fouling system at the 1.5 MW Malaya Mezenskaya tidal plant, which was completed in 2006, and anticipate using it at the 12 MW Severnaya tidal plant.

Toshiba boosts hydro equipment production capability in China

Toshiba Corp.’s Chinese consolidated subsidiary, Toshiba Hydro Power (Hangzhou) Co. Ltd. (THPC), a joint venture with Sinohydro Corp. of China, has expanded its assembly and machining shop and built an advanced hydraulic research laboratory equipped with a cutting-edge hydro turbine model test facility.

Toshiba said the plant expansion allows the company to manufacture 600 MW class hydropower equipment, the world’s largest class of equipment, and to double its manufactured output. The expansion positions THPC to meet growing demand for hydropower in China and the world market, most notably India and Southeast Asia, a press release states.

Alongside the expansion, THPC also has constructed China’s first hydropower research and development facility, built by a joint venture, Toshiba says.

THPC’s manufacturing operation includes casting, welding, assembly and machining, and a coil shop. Since fiscal year 2006, the company has invested RMB170 million (US$25 million) in building up its production capability and facilities.

Renewable energy search engine now available on the Internet

A renewable energy and energy efficiency search engine called reegle is available on the Internet at

The website features a searchable map that allows users to click on a country and get the latest events and news, as well as a sampling of development projects, including hydro plants in Ethiopia and Uganda. The website also provides an energy profile of the country, a catalog of stakeholders, and information on local renewable energy policies and regulations.

A new feature of the website is the ability to select energy statistics in European countries and compare them visually using time lapse animation. The underlying data, provided by Eurostat, is available back to 1997. For example, users can choose “Share of renewables: hydro power” and see how this is broken down across Europe, from 0–0.4% in Poland to 3.9–41.6% in Sweden.

The website has a news feed that integrates stories from environmental, energy efficiency, and renewable energy sites.

Reegle is a public resource provided by the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership and Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN-21). Funding comes from the British Department of Energy and Climate Change; German Federal Ministry for the Environment; Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety; Dutch Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment; and Austrian Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management.

Alstom inaugurates brand new manufacturing facility in China

Alstom has inaugurated its new hydropower manufacturing facility at Tianjin in China.

This factory will place Alstom in a better position to supply its customers in China and abroad, while offering opportunities for further expansion in China’s healthy hydropower market, which accounts for 22% of the country’s electricity generation capacity and is expanding at a rate of 15 GW per year, Alstom reported.

The new site is to be named Alstom Hydro China Co. Ltd (AHC) and will, over time, fully replace Alstom’s original factory in China, Tianjin Alstom Hydro (TAH). Its construction is taking place in two main phases, with phase 1 already operational. The TAH factory will operate until phase 2 has been fully completed.

Representing an investment of about €110 million (US$156.5 million), AHC is Alstom’s first carbon-neutral manufacturing site in China. Its energy-efficient design includes double insulation; heat recovery systems; a geothermal heating and cooling system; rainwater recycling; and solar photovoltaic panels.

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