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Water Intake Maintenance | Using an Underwater Drone

Examining how a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), or an underwater drone, is used to maintain a water intake for Hydroelectric dams.

In order for hydro-electric dams to generate power at the highest capacity, each aspect of the system requires periodic inspection and maintenance. A water intake is an integral part of power generation and is directly responsible for the water flow efficiency coming into the dam from a stream, river, lake or reservoir. Water intake gates and screens protect vital components within the dam such as the turbines, pumps, and pipes from damage which can be caused by debris, sediment, evasive species, fish, and ice.

The diversity of intake locations can mean that regularly scheduled maintenance can be difficult and costly. In the past, dive teams have needed to be contracted for inspections, sometimes for extended periods of time, or in extreme cases, reservoirs are drained to replace screens, repair intakes or remove debris. This massive cost and disruption of service are felt by not only the power producers but also the municipalities that rely on them.

Underwater Drone for Hydroelectric Dam Water Intake Maintenance

water intake-hydroelectric-dam-rov-inspection

Deep Trekker’s DTG3 ROV is the perfect Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) to handle the diversity of locations, depth, and elements required to regularly maintain a water intake. The DTG3 is a commercial grade mini ROV, otherwise known as an underwater drone, designed with the Deep Trekker patented pitching system for unmatched maneuverability. The built-in HD camera turns independently from the drone's chassis allowing for a full 360-degree field of view from a single vantage point. Inspectors can thoroughly complete a visual examination of the infrastructure from the surface and see a live video feed on the lightweight, handheld controller.

Portable Solution

The DTG3 ROV is able to be launched from the surface and is utilized to inspect a water intake to verify what is required for maintenance pre-emptive of a diver or dive team. Inspections provide real-time data of debris, sediment removal, repair or replacement requirements. This initial examination greatly reduces the time requirements of divers; allowing them to prepare in advance of going in the water. Additionally, the DTG3 ROV works up to 8 hours on a single charge, utilizing onboard batteries. This immediate deployment tool greatly reduces inspection and maintenance time. Comprehensive analysis is conducted without dragging multiple cases, or generators to a site or worrying about dive times.

monitoring-diver-hydroelectric-water intake

Once maintenance activities have been ascertained, the DTG3 ROV is ideal to launch again in unison with a diver. Here the HD camera can monitor the safety of the diver while they work, in addition to collecting other relevant data from the work site that can be historically cataloged and utilized for future planning activities.

The energy that hydroelectric dams produce plays a key role in everyone's day to day lives. Deep Trekker ROVs are helping ensure these structures are properly inspected to provide clean, efficient, cost-effective, and safe power to our communities.

Related Case Study: Still Creek Dam Intake Inspection

A look Ahead

Deep Trekker has embarked on a mission to provide safe, cost-effective and efficient tools for underwater observation. As the pressures to find cost-effective methods to maintain our world's aging infrastructure; Deep Trekker has expanded its product offerings to continue providing innovative and purpose-built inspection robots for your next underwater inspection.

Want to know more?

See the new DT640 Utility Crawler >

Top 3 Uses of Mini ROVs in Hydroelectric >

About the DTG3 ROV

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