Start-up challenge: Oxygenation of turbined water flows

We are looking for innovative solutions to increase the oxygenation of the water we turbine in our dams

PERSEO Start-up challenge Hydroelectric power Water Biodiversity

From Iberdrola’s start-up programme, PERSEO, we are launching a challenge in search of new ideas that will allow us to  increase the concentration of oxygen in the water flowing through the turbines of our hydroelectric dams, so that the biodiversity of the area is protected and all the requirements of the hydrographic basins are met.

Start-up challenge: oxygenation of turbined water flows

Following through in our commitment to combat climate change, Iberdrola is committed to renewable energy as the way to drive the energy transition and the much-needed decarbonisation and electrification of the economy. 

In addition, at Iberdrola we are committed to protecting and acting for nature and we are strengthening our commitment with the launch of our Biodiversity Plan 2030. This Plan sets out the mechanisms to achieve the ambitious target of having a net positive impact on biodiversity by 2030 and to boost the transformation to an energy model in harmony with nature and people.

Iberdrola's commitment to the environment and to the decarbonisation of society entails maximizing the generation of renewable energy and thus a greater energetic use of water masses and hydropower.

Currently, we have an installed hydraulic generation capacity of +10,000MW and 4,500MW of pumped-storage capacity. Hydroelectric facilities are located in river basins, the vast majority of which have defined environmental requirements for each waterbody that must be complied with. 

Among the requirements of the so-called ecological flows is to maintain the level of dissolved oxygen in the water at parameters that maintain the essential processes of healthy river ecosystems on which protected species and habitats depend and thus ensure a good ecological condition of the waterbody.

Description of the challenge

In this context, through our PERSEO Start-up Program, we are looking for systems to increase the concentration of dissolved oxygen in the discharge of water in hydroelectric power plants, in situations where the turbine water does not reach the required values in the river.

During certain periods of the year, the waterbody located at the level of the intake structure of some plants does not reach the required oxygenation values in the restitution, which can lead to situations in which turbinating is prevented and the consequent lack of renewable energy harnessing. 

Solutions are sought for the discharge of power plants, either to be adopted at the turbine discharge itself or already in the riverbed that:

  • Adapt to as wide a range of flow rates as possible from anoxic conditions.

  • Maximize the concentration of dissolved oxygen to the usual required values in a watercourse.

  • Are robust to sudden variations in flow during dam overflows. 

  • Enable renewable energy harnessing of water flow

The following attributes will be favourably rated:

  • The maturity and reliability of the solution. 

  • Ease of installation and maintenance. 

  • Investment and operational costs.

  • Scalability of the solution.

Proposals will be classified into two categories, for which Iberdrola, at a later stage, could define a base case in order to standardize the evaluation of the proposals:

Category A: Actions on the hydraulic turbine circuit 

Category B: Actions on the downstream course of turbine 

The team of experts from Iberdrola's Renewables area will be responsible for selecting the innovative solution or solutions that best fits the solution to the problem.

The prize

The prize will consist of a collaboration and test agreement with  PERSEO or any other group company, which will provide the winner with all necessary technical support, as well as an environment and real data to test the solution, providing access to equipment, teams, infrastructure, high technology sites and shared work areas. The project selected will be carried out in collaboration with technical specialists from the Iberdrola Renewables area.

If the trial or test of the concept is satisfactory, Iberdrola may offer the winner the opportunity to scale up the solution, adopting it by means of commercial agreements. What's more, PERSEO may consider investing in the participating company and/or the winner of the challenge.