Event Coverage, Hydropower

Hydropower Foundation offers opportunities for next generation of hydro sector employees, including at HydroVision International 2018

The Hydropower Foundation, formerly the Hydro Research Foundation, coordinates a number of educational and career-building opportunities for those with an interest in joining the hydro sector — notably through its Hydro Fellows program.

HydroWorld.com has published a series of profiles about these fellows and their accomplishments, with the hope they might find futures in the hydropower industry.

Below is a profile on Hydropower Foundation fellow Kang Li, and how you can meet other job-seeking candidates at HydroVision International 2018.

Kang Li: Graduating Researcher of the Hydro Research Foundation
The Hydropower Foundation is actively supporting graduate students to conduct research related to conventional and pumped storage hydropower. These students are funded through the Department of Energy’s Water Power Program and industry partners through a four-year grant.

Kang Li received his Bachelor’s degree from Shanghai University, China in 2011 and his Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Shanghai University, China in 2013. He is currently pursuing his Ph.D.’s degree at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. His research interest is in the area of applied Electromagnetics. Most recently Kang’s research work includes investigating the torque capabilities of high gear ratio magnetic gearboxes.

Kang Li currently doing research to Investigate the Performance of a Magnetically Geared Hydropower Generator. He is working with Dr. Johnathan Bird and Dr. Yogendra Kakad and being mentored by Raymond Wingert at HDR and Norman Bishop with Knight Piesold. The goal of this proposed project is to investigate the performance and cost benefits of using a magnetically geared generator (MGG) for a hydropower generation.

Highlights of Kang Li’s research have shown that unlike a mechanical gearbox, a magnetic gearbox (MG) creates speed change without any physical contact, eliminating gear lubrication and allowing operation at high efficiency. A MG also has inherent overload protection as excessive torque will simply cause the poles to slip, whereas a mechanical gearbox would fail. As the MG operates using magnetic fields the MG rotors can be coupled with a generator stator winding thereby enabling a very compact integrated hydropower generator to be realized. Recently Kang Li, and his co-Advisor, Dr. Bird, have demonstrated that a coaxial MG can operate with a torque density far in excess of prior-art designs. This level of torque density is comparable to state-of-the-art Nabtesco and Sumitomo cycloidal mechanical gearbox. The coaxial MGs studied by the Kang Li for his Ph.D. are able to achieve much higher torque densities than prior-art designs because they utilize a flux focusing typology and make insightful use of the pole combinations and outer radii.

The single-stage coaxial MG designs have so far only been able to achieve a high torque density at a low gear ratio [5, 6], typically less than 10:1, such a low gear ratio is not suitable for most hydropower applications because the input speed for the generator will be very low. One approach to increasing the gear ratio is to utilize multiple MGs in series thereby forming a multistage MG. 

By using a hydropower MGG the generator could have high reliability, compact size and high efficiency. The MGG offers the advantages that come with using a mechanical gearbox while also having the operational reliability that comes with using a direct-drive generator. The majority of current, state-of-the-art hydro power generators utilize either a direct-drive synchronous generator or a mechanical gearbox coupled to a generator.

If a mechanical gearbox is used, then the generator is typically either a PM generator or an induction generator. The use a gearboxes introduces significant reliability issues and therefore this can severely affect the levelized cost of energy (LCOE). Direct-drive synchronous generators are often utilized however as the torque density of a direct-drive synchronous generator is thermally limited (by current) they do not normally achieve torque densities greater than 50Nm/L.

Therefore, direct-drive generators become very large when scaled-up in size and require large amounts of material. In order to increase the use of hydro power and pumped storage the generator should be low-cost while at the same time it must be exceptionally reliable, and highly efficient. A MGG could potentially offer the ability to increase efficiency and increase reliability for a hydropower generator.

Kang Li is excited to continuing his graduate studies at UNC-Charlotte following his research award. To connect with Kang or learn more about the Research Awards Program please email [email protected] or visit the website ww.hydrofoundation.org

Meet job candidates at HydroVision International
Building a workforce of well-trained employees is a struggle faced by many companies around the world, which is why the Hiring for Hydro career fair is once again being held in conjunction with HydroVision International 2018.

Hiring for Hydro — hosted by the Hydropower Foundation — takes place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday, June 28, at the Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, N.C.

The event gives pre-screened students to interact with companies including Andritz Hydro, CF Malm Engineers, Kleinschmidt, Rittmeyer, the Yuba County Water Agency and others looking for qualified candidates.

“I think the importance of having young professionals come to HydroVision is that this is where the knowledge transfer happens,” said Brenna Vaughn, Hydro Research Foundation managing director. “It’s where everything goes from the generation that is retiring to the new generation that is going to take over this industry.”

To learn more about Hiring for Hydro, or to sign up as a student or corporate attendee, visit HydroEvent.com.

In addition to Hiring for Hydro, the Hydropower Foundation is hosting its annual Hydro Research Roundtable on Tuesday, June 26 from 10 a.m. to noon. This event gives graduate students an opportunity to share and discuss their findings with experts in the hydro market.

Learn more about the Hydro Research Roundtable here.

Last, the Hydropower Foundation and select participants in its fellowship program will be on the HydroVision International exhibit hall floor throughout the event in Booth 2023.