Hydroelectric Dam Inspections Maintenance

Top 3 Uses of Mini ROVs in Hydro

Infrastructure, Oil and Energy

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Mini Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) are used worldwide for inspections throughout the Energy Industry.  Strong infrastructure is vital for the safety and efficiency of energy production and that could not be more true when considering hydroelectricity.  Water is a destructive force; it regularly thrashes against the intake networks of a dam and through the power generating turbine.  These structures can last anywhere from 50 to 100 years, with the timeline dependent on the quality of maintenance and inspections conducted over its life span.   As one of our predicted top energy sources of the future, it is important to maximize the life of these structures!

Mini ROVs offer an affordable and reasonable method for regular inspections and preventative maintenance.  Below are the top three uses of Mini ROVs to inspect and maintain a Hydroelectric Dam:

  1.  Intake Inspection

The intake structures are where the water first enters the dam.  It is important that the flow of water is maximized/optimized for the production of energy.  If the intakes are blocked, this limits the flow and limits electrical output.  If a foreign objects enters the dam, then there is risk of damaging the turbines that generate the energy.  That is why the gates of the intake and inside the intake structures need to be inspected regularly.  The gate and its bolts can corrode, increasing the risk of it dismounting and exposing the turbines.  The intake structures themselves can be indicative of age and wear, by evaluating pits, cracks and other anomalies.

2.  Trash Rack Inspection and Clearance

The trash racks are close to the intakes, collecting any moderate to large debris that is flowing through the river.  This debris can build up on the racks and cause blockage.  Having a Mini ROV enables you to inspect how significant the build up is.  Using a Grabber arm, you are able to remove debris as well.  There are often times when the build up is not significant enough to call a servicing team.  However, due to not having eyes underwater, you are unable to decide whether this is the case or not and are thus forced to spend the money or hope that it is not a problem.  Having a ROV eliminates the risk of complacency while also reducing the cost of depending on another company.

3.  Reservoir Evaluation

Hydroelectric Dams are placed on bodies of water, so the risks of environmental impacts are no surprise. That being said,  not all of the impacts are negative.  Understanding the species that live in the area and the effects of the dam on the biodiversity will go a long way in preventing accidents and environmental damage, while understanding the ecology in general.  Mini ROVs are able to visually monitor the underwater environment as well as take samples using our sediment and water samplers.

Are there other uses for ROVs that you could see for the Hydroelectric industry?  Comment below!

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