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Monitoring of transients for penstocks safety

The continuous monitoring of transients during penstocks operation

Thanks to HYDROSURGE software, it is now possible to perform the mass processing of pressure data measured during each hydraulic events occurring in a hydraulic power plant. From each pressure transient captured, HYDROSURGE’s algorithms perform a precise diagnosis of the hydraulic behaviour of the pipe system. As the pressure is the main cause of the stress applied on the penstock’s structure, this diagnosis allows extracting the essential information for safety-decision-making: Are all indicators green? Or, would it be necessary to keep a close look at a particular issue detected?

HYDROSURGE makes it easy to control pressure transients

The great flexibility of HYDROSURGE  enables MOTRHYS to propose an easy solution to be implemented by hydro power plant operators. This allows them to easily control dangerous phenomena that had never been continuously monitored before. This continuous monitoring requires specific skills and is very time-consuming without  an automatic tool. With HYDROSURGE, this monitoring process can be easily used for both small hydro and large-scale hydroelectric power stations.

This makes HYDROSURGE a powerful leveraging tool for predictive maintenance that would ensure the operating safety of penstocks of any size.

HYDROSURGE offers two solutions for solving issues of safety :

First solution: audit of pressure transients

MOTRHYS uses HYDROSURGE software for carrying out an audit of pressure transients experienced by a hydro facility.

This audit is a measurement step performed in parallel to the other usual measurements of the plant, this may be performed during a few months of the plant operation. This measurement allows  a reliable assessment of the different pressure levels reached along the penstock.

The audit steps are particularly useful in situations where the real penstock loading is not well-known, for example in the following situations:


What is the real maximum pressure in operation ? That is the key question, asked especially before and after a power increase of the turbine. The objective of this audit step is to measure the actual level of pressure, then to detect possible unexpected over pressures due to the rehabilitation.

Long term safety in operation:

These monitoring actions allow to annually thoroughly analyze the pressure surges in order to detect any behaviour change. Thanks to these data, it becomes possible to early correct any faults and to control the risk factor during the life of the hydro facility.

Thanks to data analysis performed by HYDROSURGE, the surveillance report delivered by MOTRHYS includes information such as:

  • Pressure profile estimation : (Maximum pressure level reached in each section of the penstock).  see ODM
  • Surge statistics: This concerns the classification of the observed transient events in the following classes: Mass water hammering, propagating water hammering,  resonance and water column separation.
  • Hydro Diagnosis: Analysis of the severity level of the extreme behaviors in each class encountered > see ODM
  • Hydro Consulting: Proposition of corrective actions allowing to reduce the severity level of the extreme behaviors encountered> see RCM

Second solution: continuous monitoring of transients

MOTRHYS provides HYDROSURGE as a permanently installed software.

The modular principle of HYDROSURGE enables it to be easily deployed according to requirements and customer specifications.

The HYDROSURGE software solution provides real-time key figures for assessing the penstock structure overload risk over the whole length. This information can be readily integrated with the plant SCADA system.

For hydro facilities not equipped with a SCADA system, the HYDROSURGE stand-alone is the solution. This option features a root cause module (RCM) which helps to find the equipment requiring maintenance or re-tuning.

If you require further information about any of our penstock monitoring solutions please do get in touch.