The IEC's recent article, penned by Catherine Bischofberger and published on December 1, 2023, unveils key insights into the future of hydraulic energy. Pierre Maruzewski, Chair of IEC Technical Committee 4, sheds light on pivotal challenges and developments within the industry. Notably, hydroelectric power retains its dominant position, contributing 55% to global renewable electricity generation in 2021, with pumped storage playing a crucial role in grid stability.
Standards and Challenges in Pumped Storage: IEC TC 4 is actively involved in setting standards for pumped storage, particularly focusing on the second edition of IEC 60193, addressing requirements for Francis turbines. Additionally, efforts are underway to revise IEC 60041, crucial for field acceptance tests determining the performance of hydraulic turbines. As climate change alters water availability, a new standard, IEC 63230, tackles the emerging challenge of turbine fatigue due to changing water levels.
Sustainable Hydro Power Rehabilitation: To extend the lifespan of existing hydro installations, IEC TC 4 is revising IEC 62256, emphasizing turbine rehabilitation, life assessment, and performance improvement. This approach aligns with the principles of the circular economy, where rehabilitating turbines proves more cost-effective than constructing new installations. The article also highlights the global effort to sustain hydraulic installations and the ongoing collaboration with ISO/TC 339 for small hydropower plant standardization.
Adapting to Emerging Technologies: Looking ahead, the article addresses the impact of additive manufacturing and 3D printing on hydraulic energy technology. The expert and IEC Technical Committee 4 Chair Pierre Maruzewski proposes the creation of a new working group to develop a guide on selecting appropriate metals for the additive manufacturing process. Despite the challenges posed by lithium-ion batteries, which have gained traction for renewable energy storage, the industry remains resilient, adapting to technological shifts and maintaining its vital role in the global energy landscape.
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