Two hydraulic-power units slated for use in a hydro-dam project at Colorado’s Carter Lake will integrate a smart system to optimize flow rate through the dam’s wicket gates. Design of the hydroelectric generators is being handled by Gilkes, a UK-based manufacturer of Francis-turbine hydroelectric generators. Western Integrated Technologies (WI), a Parker Hydraulics systems integrator, supplied parts and services related to the generator’s smart-monitoring and flow-control elements.
The hydraulics installation at Carter Lake Hydroelectric, a plant owned and operated by the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District, controls the flow of water from the 112,000-acre-foot mountain lake to a powerhouse. The Francis turbines leverage the power from the flowing water to spin a generator that produces electricity, and water is then directed back to the distribution canal so that it can be used by homes and businesses.
To regulate the generator frequency, wicket gates are paired with a smart system that comprises proportional valves with onboard electronics and a proportional–integral–derivative controller (PID) and position-feedback device. These ensure that the position of the wicket-gates maintain a regular volumetric flow rate. In case of a power failure, the turbine can be operated via manual valves, which are installed parallel to the electrically operated valves.
Custom-designed manifolds integrate Parker cartridge valves, including hydraulic-system check valves, relief valves, and unloading valves. Parker test points provide individual pressure monitoring for certain functions, and Parker electronic pressure transmitters/switches are used for pressure monitoring and lead/lag motor pump control.
To keep the hydraulic oil clean, a Parker’s WPF pressure filter will be installed at the inlet of the power unit; oil will then be recycled through a low-pressure tank top return filter. A desiccant breather will be used to remove moisture from incoming air. To further protect the interior from moisture, the power unit is plumbed with stainless-steel tubing; interconnections feature Parker ALok fittings to secure piping and fittings and prevent leaks.
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