Wireless Instrumentation Capability

Project ID: 1738
Principal Investigator: Jim DeHaan
Research Topic: Repair and Maintenance
Funded Fiscal Years: 2017, 2018 and 2019
Keywords: None

Research Question

How can Reclamation incorporate recent advances in wireless instrumentation technology in its predictive maintenance techniques to improve reliability and lower maintenance costs for power generation assets?

Need and Benefit

There is no existing sensor and driver, commercial or otherwise, to monitor online stator shape as measured by the rotor to stator air gap. Certain generators in Reclamation's fleet are displaying irregular stator shape. Offline rotor to stator air gap measurements require an outage and do not necessarily capture the true shape of the stator seen at full speed full load. Consequently, for the units displaying irregular stator shapes, the real impact on the generators' performance and the rate at which the deformation is progressing are unknown. These unknowns create significant logistical issues when attempting to formulate a safe and cost effective replacement program as seen in the on-going activity concerning Grand Coulee's Third Powerplant Westinghouse units.
The creation of a lightweight sensor driver and rotor mounted power supply will allow Reclamation to use a sensor already proven effective in a permanent monitoring capacity. Monitoring stator shape reliably over long periods of time will allow Reclamation facility managers to make more educated decisions concerning replacement of affected electrical machinery. Similarly, the higher accuracy provided by the proposed wireless battery test module will create more definitive data for battery maintenance. Both systems will help prevent unexpected outages and the maintenance cost savings are likely to be far greater than the investment required for design.

Contributing Partners

Contact the Principal Investigator for information about partners.

Research Products

Please contact research@usbr.gov about research products related to this project.

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Last Updated: 6/22/20