NSERC Presents 2 minutes with Claire Deschênes

NSERC Presents 2 minutes with Claire Deschênes


Hydroelectricity in Canada represents
$20 billion per year for the Canadian economy. Hydroelectricity
is also a form of green energy. Therefore, it’s important to continue
developing it, especially in a context where our electricity
consumption is increasing. In fact, we are privileged in Canada
to have three of the biggest manufacturers and installers of
hydraulic turbines in the world: Voith Hydro, Andritz Hydro,
Alstom Énergie and Hydro-Québec, which has the world’s largest
research centre on hydroelectricity. We generate more than 99% of our energy
from hydraulic turbines. They are extremely complex
machines. In fact, each time we have a new power plant,
a new turbine is built according to the
specific characteristics of the site where it will be installed.
To better understand hydraulic turbines and to better
use them, we are looking to build a virtual laboratory that enables
us to analyze everything that goes on in the turbines
under the different conditions to which they are subjected. At the university level,
our mission is to train students and to perform
research that is slightly more fundamental. Therefore,
from time to time, we will work on the numerical calculation
codes and engage in activities that are a bit
more upstream than what is done in industry. Industry also requires
calculation codes that are validated and calibrated
and that they can trust. Therefore, to achieve this, we need experimental
measurements that are taken in the laboratory. The impact that is most concrete as of now,
from a scientific perspective, is the creation of two test cases,
one for the AxialT project, and one project for the BulbT, which are
in fact databases that have significant value. The experimental data are
essential, but they are extremely rare. Therefore, we
will certainly use these databases for a long time
in our team, with the direct goal of improving our simulation
methods. Presently, improving our simulation
methods will help us make more concrete impacts to
Hydro-Québec Production. In fact, Hydro-Québec has a culture that really promotes open
innovation. We often work with external groups. We are convinced
that this enables us to improve our capacity to deliver and
to accelerate innovation. Finally, today, we are part
of a research centre that is internationally
recognized for its large, low-head turbines.

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