Kungsfors is a newly electrified hydroelectric power station owned by Vattenfall in Kinna, west of Gothenburg. With its modern technology and power-generating operations, Kungsfors is unique among Sweden's approximately 2,000 hydroelectric power stations. At Kungsfors, Vattenfall has chosen to invest in electromechanical actuators, instead of hydraulics, for managing the dam's functions. Many of today’s conventional hydroelectric power stations are run manually, in combination with hydraulics, or are run solely by hydraulics.
Ewellix is one of the few suppliers that can deliver electromechanical actuators of this calibre, with very tough demands when it comes to operational lifetime, safety, and reliability. In hydraulic systems, you often have to pump the oil through a long system of pipes, whilst in electromechanical solutions you can place the engine directly on the cylinder, which makes for a very short distance between the power source and the action required.
Being able to operate a hydroelectric power station remotely is an important feature; however, it is equally important that things can be adjusted manually if something goes wrong. For example, during a power outage. Today, it is possible to operate the plant using both methods, and it can be done in a safer, faster, and more reliable way than before. For Vattenfall, the new solution has also meant fewer working hours for their operators in the field. Before, the company had to have a manual operator at the plant 24 hours a day – during periods of very high levels of water – which is now managed remotely.
A future proof concept
Climate change is one important factor that is driving the development of electromechanical functions in hydroelectric power stations. Other change accelerators are energy efficiency, better control, and safety. With the push of a button, you can open and close the dam’s sluice gates from wherever you are in the world. Technology simplifies the job and makes it easier to control water flows in places that are difficult to access. In Kungsfors, Vattenfall now operates a more environmentally friendly hydroelectric power station and is all set for the future.