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Hydro Power Generation:

The use of VSI Generators for hydropower generation will be extensive. Generally, wherever induction generators are or would be installed, the VSI Generator will displace the use of those generators. More importantly, the use of VSI Generators will expand seasonal hydro generation output and provide opportunities for development of hydro sources which otherwise would not be tapped.

A. Displacement of Synchronous Generators

Synchronous generators are used where a large dam can be constructed to ensure relatively constant water flow. This is necessary because with synchronous generators the hydro turbine must be operated precisely and constantly to deliver synchronous rpm to the generator. The VSI Generator can use hydro resources without the need for elaborate gates and hydro governor systems which add cost and reduce overall hydro efficiency.

B. Displacement of Induction Generators

Induction generators are currently used in locations where water flow cannot be constantly adjusted to ensure constant turbine torque and in situations where synchronous generators cannot be cost-justified, as is the case with small to intermediate hydro developments of less than 15 megawatts. In these smaller hydropower developments all over the world, which would otherwise employ induction generators, a great potential for the deployment of VSI Generators exist. In hydro applications there are several advantages, which the VSI Generator has over the induction generator. Most importantly, the VSI Generator will operate at various speeds without the need for water flow controls and synchronizing equipment. With the VSI Generator, hydro plants can expand their operating range and efficiency. The VSI Generator can enable a hydro plant to generate power over more months of the year.

Moreover, whenever water resources are available that would otherwise over-speed or underspeed an induction generator, power can be produced through the VSI Generator without incident. Furthermore, generator load capability can be more economically matched to hydro turbine output to increase overall turbine generator efficiency. With the VSI Generator, costly and complex synchronizing equipment will also not be necessary. Thus, in a vast number of cases, hydropower will provide superior cost effectiveness with the use of VSI Generators. In addition, the number of hydropower applications can be significantly increased through the use of the VSI Generator. Many low head hydro sources such as paddle wheels, mining sluices and Pelton wheels on smaller rivers, streams and waterfalls which were previously unharnessed can now become cost effective sources of utility compatible power.

C. Problems faced by Hydroelectric Developers

Hydroelectric power theoretically, is one of the least expensive sources of electric energy, because water (the prime mover) is free of cost and is also consistent. However, with the fluctuations associated with water flow and the conventional generation systems used, installation of a hydroelectric plant is a very expensive and time-consuming venture. Consider the cost, with the price of land under the reservoir, the cost of constructing a dam and its bypass, as well as the maintenance of the reservoir, the dredging of silt that constantly is added by sedimentation of the impounded water and environmental issues that result from the damming of a river. These are major problems facing most of the hydroelectric developers today.

With the use of the VSI Generator all of these costs become unnecessary because there is no need for the impounding of water, the construction of the dam and bypass and the maintenance of the lake. By having a project use just the natural flow of the river; you can commence the operation and production of electric energy immediately without the high cost and development time associated with the construction of a conventional dam. By using turbines that convert the moving water into mechanical energy, the VSI Generator will produce electric energy without any other equipment. Furthermore, with the use of low speed turbines you may install thousands of smaller units along the course of a river without restricting its natural flow and also increase the electric output as the demand continues to increase. This cannot be accomplished with the conventional generator and the impounding of water because the amount of the power is fixed to the capacity of the dam itself.

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