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Engineering >> 2022, Volume 8, Issue 1 doi: 10.1016/j.eng.2021.06.025

Emerging and Innovative Materials for Hydropower Engineering Applications: Turbines, Bearings, Sealing, Dams and Waterways, and Ocean Power

a European Commission Joint Research Centre, Ispra 21027, Italy
b IFREMER Centre Bretagne, Marine Structures Laboratory, Plouzané 29280, France

Received:2020-10-28 Revised:2021-06-09 Accepted: 2021-06-25 Available online:2021-09-15

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The hydropower sector is currently experiencing several technological developments. New technologies and sustainable practices are emerging to make hydropower more flexible and eco-friendly. Novel materials have also been recently developed to increase performance, durability, and reliability; however, no systematic discussions can be found in the literature. Therefore, in this paper, novel materials for hydropower applications are presented, and their performance, advantages, and limitations are discussed. For example, composites can reduce the weight of steel equipment by 50% to 80%, polymers and superhydrophobic materials can reduce head losses by 4% to 20%, and novel bearing materials can reduce bearing wear by 6%. These improvements determine higher efficiencies, longer life span, waste reduction, and maintenance needs, although the initial cost of some materials is not yet competitive with respect to the costs of traditional materials. The novel materials are described here based on the following categories: novel materials for turbines, dams and waterways, bearings, seals, and ocean hydropower.


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