Murray 1 Power Station
Murray 1 Power Station. Source: Snowy Hydro

Global technology company Voith and Australian energy provider Snowy Hydro are collaborating to create a smart hydropower plant that will listen to identify problems before they happen.

Their collaboration is focussing on the installation of acoustic sensing equipment to monitor and protect hydropower assets at the Murray 1 power station in New South Wales, Australia. Installation of the system will start in August this year and is projected to take six months.

Voith Hydro was appointed electro-mechanical equipment supplier to Snowy 2.0, a 2,000MW pumped storage hydropower plant expansion project at Murray 1. Murray 1 hydropower plant was opened in 1967 and contains ten units with a capacity of 950MW.

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Voith’s OnCare.Acoustic condition monitoring system will help to detect potentially serious incidents by recording sound anomalies. The plant operators will be informed of suspicious sounds, which are pre-classified in warnings and alarms to secure the reliability, availability and safety of hydropower plants.

The OnCare.Acoustic system is based on Voith’s Industrial Internet of Things platform OnCumulus. This is cloud-based data storage which provides capabilities for sensor data collection, cloud data aggregation, complex analytics and real-time data visualisation. With digital health assessments, Voith experts analyse the power plant’s operational data at their OnPerformance.Lab in Heidenheim, Germany.

This will enable condition-based decisions to optimise maintenance measures and detect malfunctions before they occur.

Dr Thomas Mahnke, Global Product Manager for OnCare.Acoustic at Voith Hydro: “By classifying the events and allocating them to specific equipment, plant operators gain further insights into their hydropower plant which increases the chance of identifying possible dangerous conditions ahead of other alarms.”

The Snowy 2.0 pumped storage hydropower plant extension project is a major part of Australia’s future renewable energy investment plans. The planned 2,000MW of power include a large scale battery energy storage component that should also support wind and solar projects coming online in the region.