Hydroelectric power plants have been contributing to the increasing electricity requirement due to rapid industrialization. It is considered as one of the cleaner technologies as it does not affect the environment by releasing the greenhouse gases like the non-renewable fossil fuels. But on the other hand, it has adversely affected the marine or the aquatic life and has also disturbed ecosystem till certain extent. Here you can find information on how the generation of electricity through hydroelectric power plants had affected the marine life and get an answer to whether it can be reversed or reduced by using the advanced technology or the IoT.
The power generation through hydroelectric power plants involves the construction of the dams on rivers. The water flowing in the river or collected in dams is used for power generation. The water flowing from higher to lower elevation converts the potential energy to kinetic energy that spins the turbines to convert it into mechanical energy. This mechanical energy is then converted to electricity with the help of generators. This process of generation electricity involves the divergence of river water into dams or is sometimes directly used for power generation. So, there are many adverse effects of construction of dams as it disrupts the nearby village and their livelihoods, apart from that the marine life is also affected as the water is passed through the turbines. So, let’s discuss in detail about the effects on marine life.
As turbines are used for the generation of electricity through water, its effects on cost, efficiency and marine life depends on its type. Basically, there are three types of turbines which are impulse, reaction, and gravity. The type itself describes its functionality, for example impulse turbine are driven by water flowing at high velocities through jet whereas reaction turbine consists of rotor submerged in water, the pressure difference on opposing blades of the turbine rotates the rotor and generate energy. Gravity turbines are driven by water falling under gravity from top of turbine to bottom of turbine to generate energy. As the water is passing through such turbines, the aquatic animals may die in the process and may lead to the extinction of the species. Though the extent of its effect depends on the type of turbine, but more or less it has affected the marine life. The use of impulsive turbine results in 100% mortality rate of fishes whereas the reaction turbines result into 5 to 20% mortality according to research. To decrease the mortality rate, the advancements in technology has resulted into the invention of Alden turbines which has only 2-3% of mortality rate. As the hydropower plants are already built with one of the three types of turbines, we need to find the solution on low mortality rate in existing plant with help of new technologies.
Rubus advantages and benefits in Hydro electrical plant
· Real time operation and utilization
· Remote monitoring of assets
· Energy efficiency
· Environment monitoring around the plant of aqua life and surroundings
· Safety and security of the data access
· Solution scalability and up-to-date technology integration
From the above information, it can be concluded that the marine life is in danger once it reaches the turbine as they rotate and harm them. So, the solution can be the divergence of the marine life or fishes prior to its entry into the turbine. In dams, a separate fishway is designed for the passage of fishes, to protect the fishes entering the turbine. But, if the water is directly taken from the river through divergence, then it’s very important to keep in mind the marine animals. In this case, divergence of fishes can be done by either installing the exclusion screens(positive barriers) or the louvres (sensory deterrents). Study revealed that using exclusion screens is not an effective solution as the juvenile fishes may get trapped or pass the exclusion screens that may lead to its mortality. Hence it cannot be adopted at large scale projects. On the other hand, installing sensors has proved to be an effective way in the divergence of all size of fishes thereby saving the juvenile fishes.
Installing sensory deterrents, where the water is diverged from the river can be a great solution in saving marine life. Additionally, the data from the sensors can be acquired and analyzed to make the future prediction using ML/AI that may help in inventing new advanced technologies for better results.
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