Power System Instrumentation

Project ID: 20009
Principal Investigator: Patrick Council
Research Topic: Improved Power Generation
Funded Fiscal Years: 2020, 2021 and 2022
Keywords: None

Research Question

This research strives to reduce maintenance costs of Hydroelectric Facilities (Generators/Pumps) by developing improved instrumentation based off technology developed from research funds in previous years. Existing instrumentation will be developed further to make permanent installation of devices possible. Previous technology developed with research funds was intended for temporary installation to capture data for troubleshooting, trending, required testing, but some facilities have voiced the need for permanent installation of some of these devices. In addition, new instrumentation needs to be developed to meet the instrumentation needs of facilities.
To improve personnel safety when working with DC Distribution Systems previous research began the development of the Reclamation DC Arc Flash Elimination Breaker. The breaker uses electronics to detect fault current signatures to eliminate arc flash hazards present on DC Distribution Buses near a large battery bank. This research would continue development on this device in addition to field testing at select power plants. Successful implementation of this device would greatly improve personnel safety when working with DC Distribution Systems and reduce maintenance costs.
Reclamation's Wireless Battery Cell Voltage Monitoring System, BATMON2, was previously developed with research funding, but the system was designed specifically for Battery Capacity Testing. Recent feedback from facilities regarding this system has revealed the need to convert this system to a permanent solution in addition to providing more features. BATMON2's cell voltage monitoring technology will be expanded to include Battery Cell Equalization, Battery Cell Temperature Monitoring, and Battery Cell Jumper Resistance with this research. The DC Arc Flash Elimination Breaker can be integrated into this system further reducing installation costs. These features provide facilities vital data about the health of their battery banks automatically fur

Need and Benefit

Most of Reclamation's Facilities do not have rotor mounted instrumentation that can be used to monitor online conditions of their synchronous machines. Several facilities request TSC engineers to perform offline and temporary online tests using rotor mounted instrumentation and the data has been influential on maintenance related decisions. More facilities have shown interest for TSC engineers to perform more testing with rotor mounted instrumentation and it is beneficial to continue to improve this instrumentation for all facilities. Eventually this instrumentation can be incorporated into permanent installations. In addition, permanent battery condition monitoring and arc flash battery safety are requested of facilities.

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