Alstom opens hydropower research center

Housed within Alstom's existing North American hydropower headquarters, manufacturing and engineering facility, this GTC will serve as the company's global hub for innovation in hydro retrofit processes and technology

Paris, November 8, 2011 — Alstom inaugurated the company's newest Global Technology Centre, in the Canadian town of Sorel-Tracy, focused on sustainable hydroelectric power.

Housed within Alstom's existing North American hydropower headquarters, manufacturing and engineering facility, this GTC will serve as the company's global hub for innovation in hydro retrofit processes and technology.

Retrofits enable hydro operators to extend the lifecycle of existing plants and increase electricity output by updating equipment and maximizing efficiency.

The Sorel-Tracy GTC houses a team of Alstom research experts and engineers working with industry and academic partners to study improvements in retrofit techniques that can significantly improve plant performance, availability and reliability without increasing overall plant size or environmental impact. During a retrofit, existing turbines, generators and other essential equipment are removed from a hydro plant.

They are then renewed to boost efficiency or replaced with new designs resulting in an overall increase in electricity output. With the launch of Quebec's "Plan Nord", Alstom's expertise will be most appropriate to respond to retrofit projects, but also to new hydroelectric projects that are part of this plan.

The formal inauguration ceremony was followed by a tour of the GTC where local and provincially elected officials, Alstom customers, academic partners such as École de technologie supérieure, Institut de recherche d'Hydro-Québec, Aerospace Manufacturing Technology Centre of the NRC Institute for Aerospace Research and École Polytechnique, and members of the community, were shown how staff will use state-of-the-art technology to model and test new retrofit processes.

The program also included visits to Alstom's mechanical and electrical fabrication facilities where visitors saw how the innovative solutions developed in the GTC are then applied to manufacturing processes to meet customers' particular demands and changing operating conditions.

Other GTCs in the Alstom hydro network include the high-tech scale model test laboratory in Grenoble, France (lead centre), the Pelton turbine-testing centre in Vadodara, India and the GTC specializing in generators in Birr, Switzerland. The company offers a wide-range of sustainable hydro systems including dissolved oxygen, water-lubricated and oil-free solutions, as well as fish-friendly turbines.

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