19 October 2023



In the battle to decarbonize our electricity supply hydropower is a key weapon (in those places where geography permits). It can be either a source of green energy (as rain fills up mountain reservoirs) or, in the case of pumped hydro, a partially “self-recharging battery”, storing excessive green energy for later use.


Dialing hydro power up and down in response to demand has its own challenges though, due to the massive scale of these plants and the consequence of forces generated by millions of liters of water cascading from a great height.


In the latest episode of the Engineer Innovation podcast, listen to Flow Design Bureau’s Morten Kjeldsen about using engineering simulation to create “virtual sensors” that allow operators to understand how a hydro power station is performing in real time.


“We have tens of kilometers of piping and tunnels filled with water running through a penstock which takes water for a high level to the turbine - it can be anything from 200 to 1200 meter's of head. You have all this inertia when you change your operating conditions, which can generate massive oscillations. If you’re not very careful, bad things can happen…”


Morten Kjeldsen - Flow Design Bureau