Software to optimize hydropower plant design

Jonas Eliasson*, Pall Jensson, Gudmundur Ludvigsson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


A computer program called HYDRA, that calculates the optimal design parameters of hydropower plants, is described here. This is done by utilizing the well known principle of optimising power losses and construction costs. Up to now it has only been possible to obtain local optima, due to the great complexity of the objective function. The best known example is optimization of tunnel diameters. The weakness of local optimization is the substantial risk of missing the true optimum. A new computer model is presented that uses an evolutionary method called Genetic Algorithm to find the global optimal project design by maximizing the net profit of power sales. The model is calibrated against a theoretical example with an optimum that can be obtained by conventional mathematical methods. A case study is performed by comparing the design of an actual project to the optimal results of the model. The most interesting result is that while the model solution produces the same size of power plant, the waterways are different with an overall improvement in economy, clearly showing the importance of global optimization for the economy of hydropower plants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1673-1682
Number of pages10
JournalProceedings of the International Conference on Hydropower - Waterpower
Publication statusPublished - 1997
EventProceedings of the 1997 International Conference on Hydropower. Part 1 (of 3) - Atlanta, GA, USA
Duration: 5 Aug 19978 Aug 1997


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