The generation of electric power can be done in several ways: through the flow of water currents in areas where such liquid is abundant. Typically, hydroelectric power plants require little maintenance, at least compared to other generation plants.
Hydro power is a type of energy-efficient renewable energy that harnesses the kinetic power of flowing water. This means that the cost of generating electricity is meager. But its use is not more widespread as it can only be produced in precise locations.
Hydro power is an ecological type of energy as it is clean and does not produce toxic emissions. Reservoirs are not only built to store water for human consumption or irrigation. They are also used to generate hydro power.
The water used by hydroelectric power plants comes mainly from dams, which can be built by taking advantage of geological differences in level, i.e., by taking advantage of waterfalls. But there is another fundamental element that must be taken into account when we talk about hydroelectric power plants. They must be located in places where there is rain because rain is essential in generating this type of clean energy.
Rain creates and increases the flow of rivers and streams. Rivers and streams also increase their flow due to the thawing on hills or mountains with the arrival of suitable temperatures. The moving water in these streams contains a large amount of energy.
hydro power utilizes the synergetic power of water to generate electricity. Regulating the flow of rivers is fundamental in the generation of this type of energy.
The flow of water we talked about can be modulated by the gates of a dam located on a river. Therefore, the amount of energy it produces can be regulated according to the height of the waterfalls or the flow rate. When the gates are raised, the waterfalls on the turbine blades and causes them to rotate. In turn, the turbines are connected to an alternator or electric generator that allows electricity to be generated.
Hydraulic turbines can operate for long periods without significant problems. However, sometimes there can be complex problems to solve, especially in rehabilitating units whose components have aged or perhaps have been improperly repaired.
One of the vital components for the proper functioning of a turbine is the runner. This is a type of rotor located inside a duct consisting of a disk perpendicular to the axis of rotation, composed of blades curved in the opposite direction of movement. The fluid enters through the center or eye of the impeller and is drawn by the blades in the radial direction, exiting to the volute and from there, to the outlet ports in single-stage pumps, or is collected by the next impeller in multistage pumps, which consist of several impellers placed in series. Thus, the impeller geometry is of vital importance to achieving high hydraulic efficiency.
Depending on the stresses to be withstood and the aggressiveness of the medium to be driven, the impeller can be made of metal alloy, e.g., steel or aluminum, or of a polymer, e.g., polyamide.
In recent decades, fiber-reinforced composite bearings have proven to be the successor to greased bronze bearings in hydroelectric applications. Self-lubricating fiber-reinforced composite bushings are specifically designed to meet the demands for high performance and low wear bearings in hydro power generation.