Model Tests Successfully Completed for Swiss Pumped Storage Power Plant

At its research and development center, the Brunnenmühle in Heidenheim, the Voith technology group successfully completed three fully homogeneous model acceptance tests for the Swiss pumped storage power plant Ritom.
Model Tests Successfully Completed for Swiss Pumped Storage Power Plant

Model acceptance tests of the Pelton turbine, which will supply electricity for the 16.7-Hz-grid of the Swiss Federal Railways and operation of its trains. (Image source: Voith GmbH & Co. KG)

A 5- and 6-nozzle Pelton turbine and a storage pump were tested. The Voith experts determined the efficiency, maximal output, throughput speed, hydraulic forces and the dimensions of the machines on the basis of the fully homogeneous models. The specialists also controlled the cavitation behavior at different operating points. As a result, the subsequent behavior of the machines were analyzed and the guaranteed parameters verified. The contractually assured guarantees were confirmed by the measurements and in some cases exceeded.

Sophisticated model test successfully conducted
Even before the model acceptance tests were carried out, the electromechanical parts of the new machines were examined with detailed simulation models and optimized with regard to all requirements. The Voith team initially started testing the two-stage storage pump. Afterwards the model acceptance tests of the two Pelton turbines were carried out. Despite the high efficiency guarantees, the parallel development of two completely different Pelton turbines and numerous conversions on the test stand, the Voith team was able to achieve the guaranteed parameters and thus successfully complete the model acceptance tests.

"Currently, the engineering of all components of the hydraulic and electric machines is in progress. The components from earlier construction phases, for example, the turbine housing and the distribution piping, are already in production. If everything goes according to schedule, these components can be installed on site in May 2021," explains Matten.

About the Ritom pumped storage power plant
The four Pelton turbines with a total rated output of 44 MW, used in the existing Ritom storage power plant, will be replaced by significantly more powerful machine groups in the new power plant. Voith will supply two Pelton turbines, each up to 60 MW capacity and with a 60 MW storage pump.

The first machine unit will supply power for the 16.7-Hz-Grid of the Swiss Federal Railways and for operating its trains. The second machine unit will feed electricity into the public 50-Hz-grid. In conjunction with the turbine, the storage pump can provide control power for rapid grid regulation and stabilization with maximum flexibility. The new hydropower plant will thus provide a control band from 60 MW of feed-in to 60 MW of power consumption for the Swiss 50-Hz-grid. In addition, the storage pump can be accelerated and synchronized with the grid using the 50-Hz-Pelton group by means of back-to-back startup. Here, the power of the turbine is used to start the pump quickly and reliably.

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