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Mass Flow Meter Device for Hydroelectric Applications
Published on Monday, August 30 2021
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Challenge Expiration Date: October 3, 2021
Collaboration with Enel
Enel Green Power (EGP) is looking for innovative intelligent systems, or devices, that can be easily installed on penstocks and open-close channels at hydropower plants, for measuring water mass flow rate. The system must be able to measure water mass flow with a good degree of accuracy and reliability and should be able to share the measured data with the plant's systems.
EGP is a company of Enel Group, a multinational energy company and one of the world’s leading integrated electricity and gas operators. Enel works in more than 30 countries across five continents, generating energy with a total installed capacity of more than 88 GW among which 49 based on renewable sources.
EGP is a global leader company in the development and management of energy production from renewable sources, with an integrated portfolio mainly based on wind, solar, hydroelectric and geothermal.
In the pursuit of the goal of 100% renewable generation, hydroelectric power accounts for a significant portion of total EGP electricity production. Maximizing the efficiency of hydroelectric plants could therefore have a relevant impact on the total energy production and to perform the calculation of efficiency, it is necessary to know several parameters that depend on the flow rate entering the turbine. However, the measurement of the flow rate is one of most difficult tasks and the methods usually used in water flows are not universally applicable.
The described Challenge aims to identify and integrate devices and systems for measuring water flows in penstocks and channels both in open and closed configurations.
This Challenge provides contribution to the following Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):
- SDG 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
- SDG 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
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For questions about the Challenge and your proposal you can contact: EnelOpenInnovabilityChallenges@wazoku.com
Hydropower has long been a traditional source of clean energy, representing a mature sector, with a global plant efficiency that exceeds 80%. In a rapidly changing energy scene, hydroelectric power has remained at the forefront of renewable production. However, new technologies and approaches can make plants even more efficient, flexible, durable and sustainable. Modern power stations are therefore equipped with increasingly advanced digital systems for the management, monitoring and maintenance of plant performances.
In this field, Enel Green Power has developed a number of projects to gather and transmit all the information about a hydroelectric plant in real time, also bringing benefits in terms of energy efficiency. In order to be effective in the monitoring and management of the plant, it is therefore necessary to collect data in a systematic and timely way. However, in EGP Hydroelectric scenario, there are many water derivation channels and penstocks not equipped with mass flow rate measurement systems.
The main flow meter devices currently used in Enel’s hydro power plants are installed in the penstock devoted to feed the turbines. The different applications use either the differential pressure method or the ultrasonic method.
In the differential pressure method, a narrowing of the pipeline section, for example close to turbine, causes an increase in the speed of water and a drop in pressure. The pressure difference between the upstream and the downstream points is measured. The flow rate is calculated from this data, using a mathematical function or a reference table.
The ultrasonic method is based on the measurement of transit time: using at least a pair of ultrasonic transducers that create an acoustic trajectory, it is possible to measure the average speed of the water along the trajectory by emitting and receiving ultrasonic pulses; knowing water speed, it is possible to calculate the flow rate. The accuracy of the system can be improved by implementing a multi-trajectory.
Enel Green Power is looking for new, intelligent, sustainable, efficient and cost-effective sensors, devices or systems to be installed on penstocks and channels, capable of providing accurate and reliable data related to the rates of flowing water. The system must be easily installed and installable both in stand-alone mode, powered by autonomous systems (solar panels, batteries...), or integrated with the existing plant systems and assets.
Submissions should address the following Solution Requirements.
The proposed solutions must:
- Measure flow rate for both penstocks and channels (either complete product or sensor only):
- Scenario 1: Frequency of measurement: once a second;
- Scenario 2: Frequency of measurement: once a minute;
- Be easily installed, especially in difficult to reach locations;
- Be characterized by easy and low frequency maintenance and calibration (remote/on-site);
- Be able to be installed both in an integrated way with plant systems and stand-alone power supply;
- Be characterized by low costs for the complete system supply;
- Cost of installation < 5,000 euro;
- Cost of maintenance, as close to zero as possible;
- Have an accuracy for channels ≥95% and for penstocks ≥99%;
- Be able to share data with supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems (e.g. telemetry);
- Technology readiness level (TLR) ≥ 7.
The submitted proposal should contain two parts:
1. Collaboration Proposal including:
a. A technical description of a solution (measurement system and method used) with an explanation of how the Solver proposes to address all of the Solution Requirements. The Seeker desires a solution with a minimum technology readiness level (TRL) of 7 and Solvers should provide enough information to indicate that their solution achieves this level. The Solver can withhold proprietary details, if necessary, but should provide convincing evidence for EGP to appreciate the merits of the approach and to allow for a feasibility evaluation. The detailed description of the solution should include, but is not limited to:
- Technical specifications of the system;
- Description of the activities required and an estimate of the cost for installation and integration;
- Any evidence for the application and existing use cases;
- Advantages and potential weaknesses of the proposed solution.
b. A brief discussion of capabilities, facilities/equipment, and relevant expertise for executing the proposed solution. The Solver should explain what they can provide and what might be required of the Seeker. For example: “I can construct a prototype, but I would need the Seeker to help with scale up and distribution”;
c. An overview of the proposed path forward (materials, deliverables, timelines, cost estimates);
d. Data, patent, journal references, or any additional material that supports the proposed solution.
2. General Information about the Solver including:
a. The key contact person for this Challenge (including phone number and email address).
b. Organization/Company/University name and address (including website, if available)
(NOTE: For most Challenges, Solvers are not allowed to include personal contact information; however, for an eRFP Challenge, it is required.)
[NOTE: Only proposals from Solvers who have the ability to work as a collaboration partner will be considered.]
All proposers are invited to read carefully the Challenge and the Regulation of this Challenge, attached below in the Attachments section, before submitting a solution.
The employees of Enel Green Power and of the other Companies of the Enel Group who are involved in the organization and management of the Competition or admitted to the Open Innovability Portal back office, as well as their spouses or partners and their relatives up to the fourth degree, are not eligible for participation in this Challenge.
Also, employees of the companies of the Enel Group who have worked in the technical sector of hydro power plants and that work, in the moment of the Challenge, on mass flow measurement activities, or their spouses, partners or any of their relatives up to the fourth grade determined according to Italian law are not eligible for the participation in this Challenge.
Explain your proposal clearly in English, attach documents (max 5 files, 25MB total size) if needed.
Challenge, award, IP rights
This is an electronic Request-for-Partners (eRFP) Challenge; the Solver will need to submit a written proposal to be evaluated by the Seeker with a goal of establishing a collaborative partnership.
Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (Central European Time) on October 3, 2021.
Late submissions will not be considered.
Specific regulation in the CSA attached at the bottom of this page.
What happens next?
After the Challenge deadline, the Seeker will complete the review process and make a decision with regards to the Winning Solution(s). All Solvers that submit a proposal will be notified on the status of their submissions; however, no detailed evaluation of individual submissions will be provided. Enel will evaluate the proposal using the following criteria: In case the reward includes "Collaboration with Enel", once suitable solution/s have been identified, Enel will reserve the opportunity to start a collaboration, by way of example, all or part of the following activities: Upon completion of the evaluation, you will receive feedback. In case of success, an Enel contact person will get in touch with you to discuss the next steps. The final award for this Challenge is contingent upon satisfactory completion of the verification process, including acceptance of the Challenge-Specific Agreement (CSA) that is the regulation for this Challenge. The verification process includes obtaining the following from the Solver: signed affidavit (based on the CSA), employee waiver (if applicable), and proof of identify. ABOUT INNOCENTIVE InnoCentive collaborates with Enel to manage this Challenge. InnoCentive is the global innovation marketplace where creative minds solve some of the world's most important problems for cash awards up to $1 million. Commercial, governmental and humanitarian organizations engage with InnoCentive to solve problems that can impact humankind in areas ranging from the environment to medical advancements.
After the Challenge deadline, the Seeker will complete the review process and make a decision with regards to the Winning Solution(s). All Solvers that submit a proposal will be notified on the status of their submissions; however, no detailed evaluation of individual submissions will be provided.
Enel will evaluate the proposal using the following criteria:
In case the reward includes "Collaboration with Enel", once suitable solution/s have been identified, Enel will reserve the opportunity to start a collaboration, by way of example, all or part of the following activities:
Upon completion of the evaluation, you will receive feedback.
In case of success, an Enel contact person will get in touch with you to discuss the next steps.
The final award for this Challenge is contingent upon satisfactory completion of the verification process, including acceptance of the Challenge-Specific Agreement (CSA) that is the regulation for this Challenge.
The verification process includes obtaining the following from the Solver: signed affidavit (based on the CSA), employee waiver (if applicable), and proof of identify.
InnoCentive collaborates with Enel to manage this Challenge.
InnoCentive is the global innovation marketplace where creative minds solve some of the world's most important problems for cash awards up to $1 million. Commercial, governmental and humanitarian organizations engage with InnoCentive to solve problems that can impact humankind in areas ranging from the environment to medical advancements.