DOI: 10.3390/smartcities7010020 ISSN: 2624-6511

An Artificial Intelligence and Industrial Internet of Things-Based Framework for Sustainable Hydropower Plant Operations

Fation T. Fera, Christos Spandonidis
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Urban Studies

Hydropower plays a crucial role in supplying electricity to developed nations and is projected to expand its capacity in various developing countries such as Sub-Saharan Africa, Argentina, Colombia, and Turkey. With the increasing demand for sustainable energy and the emphasis on reducing carbon emissions, the significance of hydropower plants is growing. Nevertheless, numerous challenges arise for these plants due to their aging infrastructure, impacting both their efficiency and structural stability. In order to tackle these issues, the present study has formulated a specialized real-time framework for identifying damage, with a particular focus on detecting corrosion in the conductors of generators within hydropower plants. It should be noted that corrosion processes can be highly complex and nonlinear, making it challenging to develop accurate physics-based models that capture all the nuances. Therefore, the proposed framework leverages autoencoder, an unsupervised, data-driven AI technology with the Mahalanobis distance, to capture the intricacies of corrosion and automate its detection. Rigorous testing shows that it can identify slight variations indicating conductor corrosion with over 80% sensitivity and a 5% false alarm rate for ‘medium’ to ‘high’ severity damage. By detecting and resolving corrosion early, the system reduces disruptions, streamlines maintenance, and mitigates unscheduled repairs’ negative effects on the environment. This enhances energy generation effectiveness, promotes hydroelectric facilities’ long-term viability, and fosters community prosperity.

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