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Hydropower workshop explores use of advanced manufacturing to address challenges

Stakeholders from across the hydropower industry, academia and government met for two days in a workshop at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility at Oak Ridge National Laboratory to identify existing challenges for continued hydropower growth and collaborate on innovative solutions, including the use of advanced manufacturing.

Jointly hosted by the DOE Water Power Technologies Office and ORNL, the workshop enabled participants to address challenges in conventional hydropower manufacturing, including maintaining and repairing components, the cost and availability of replacement parts, and new supply chain hurdles in acquiring materials

Participants also discussed AM capabilities, such as large-scale additive manufacturing and fiber-reinforced polymer composites, and its potential to address current material challenges. While on-site, workshop attendees were provided tours of the MDF user facility.

“Our primary goal was to bring hydropower manufacturers, operators and researchers to the same table to best understand current challenges, new technologies, and how we move forward in our common goal of providing clean, sustainable energy to the U.S. power grid,” said ORNL water resources engineer Mirko Musa.

ORNL will summarize the outcomes of the workshop in a report prioritizing hydropower challenges and associated advanced manufacturing capabilities, as well as establishing continued collaboration among participants. The report will inform the DOE WTPO in its development of an advanced manufacturing roadmap for hydropower.