New York Power Authority’s Niagara Hydroelectric Power Plant demonstrated robotic equipment on July 17 that could increase operational performance and longevity of generating facilities.
NYPA engineers and researchers from participating organizations are evaluating the performance of a robotic crawler that incorporates sound wave technologies to evaluate concrete conditions. The remote controlled crawler, roughly the size of an electric lawnmower, adheres to vertical surfaces using vacuum suction. It can carry up to 44 pounds.
The tests enabled Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) to assess technical aspects of the crawler in a real-world application and evaluate the commercial viability of the technology.
“When this technology has been perfected, it will eliminate the need for potentially dangerous and difficult rappelling and scaffolding in the performance of routine structural evaluations,” said George Wong, NYPA’s senior civil engineer.
The demonstration took place along the vertical exterior of the main generating facility at the Niagara plant. It was part of broader research EPRI is conducting on concrete aging, a critical issue at generating plants across the country. EPRI, a nonprofit funded by the electric utility industry, uses combined resources from U.S. utilities to conduct research and development in support of efficient generation, delivery and use of electricity for the benefit of the public.
Updates on the crawler can be found here.
Bertola, D. (2013 July 18). NYPA puts robotic crawler to test. Business First. Retrieved from http://www.bizjournals.com/