ENEL OPEN INNOVABILITY CHALLENGE® | Mass Flow Meter Device for Hydroelectric Applications

31/08/2021 - Enel

Challenge Expiration Date: October 3, 2021

RewardCollaboration with Enel


Enel Green Power (EGP) is looking for innovative intelligent systems, or devices, that can be easily installed on penstocks and open-close channels at hydropower plants, for measuring water mass flow rate. The system must be able to measure water mass flow with a good degree of accuracy and reliability and should be able to share the measured data with the plant's systems.

Meet our challenge!


EGP is a company of Enel Group, a multinational energy company and one of the world’s leading integrated electricity and gas operators. Enel works in more than 30 countries across five continents, generating energy with a total installed capacity of more than 88 GW among which 49 based on renewable sources.

EGP is a global leader company in the development and management of energy production from renewable sources, with an integrated portfolio mainly based on wind, solar, hydroelectric and geothermal.

In the pursuit of the goal of 100% renewable generation, hydroelectric power accounts for a significant portion of total EGP electricity production. Maximizing the efficiency of hydroelectric plants could therefore have a relevant impact on the total energy production and to perform the calculation of efficiency, it is necessary to know several parameters that depend on the flow rate entering the turbine. However, the measurement of the flow rate is one of most difficult tasks and the methods usually used in water flows are not universally applicable.

The described Challenge aims to identify and integrate devices and systems for measuring water flows in penstocks and channels both in open and closed configurations.

This Challenge provides contribution to the following Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):

  • SDG 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
  • SDG 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation



Hydropower has long been a traditional source of clean energy, representing a mature sector, with a global plant efficiency that exceeds 80%. In a rapidly changing energy scene, hydroelectric power has remained at the forefront of renewable production. However, new technologies and approaches can make plants even more efficient, flexible, durable and sustainable. Modern power stations are therefore equipped with increasingly advanced digital systems for the management, monitoring and maintenance of plant performances.

In this field, Enel Green Power has developed a number of projects to gather and transmit all the information about a hydroelectric plant in real time, also bringing benefits in terms of energy efficiency. In order to be effective in the monitoring and management of the plant, it is therefore necessary to collect data in a systematic and timely way. However, in EGP Hydroelectric scenario, there are many water derivation channels and penstocks not equipped with mass flow rate measurement systems.

The main flow meter devices currently used in Enel’s hydro power plants are installed in the penstock devoted to feed the turbines. The different applications use either the differential pressure method or the ultrasonic method.

In the differential pressure method, a narrowing of the pipeline section, for example close to turbine, causes an increase in the speed of water and a drop in pressure. The pressure difference between the upstream and the downstream points is measured. The flow rate is calculated from this data, using a mathematical function or a reference table.

The ultrasonic method is based on the measurement of transit time: using at least a pair of ultrasonic transducers that create an acoustic trajectory, it is possible to measure the average speed of the water along the trajectory by emitting and receiving ultrasonic pulses; knowing water speed, it is possible to calculate the flow rate. The accuracy of the system can be improved by implementing a multi-trajectory.


Enel Green Power is looking for new, intelligent, sustainable, efficient and cost-effective sensors, devices or systems to be installed on penstocks and channels, capable of providing accurate and reliable data related to the rates of flowing water. The system must be easily installed and installable both in stand-alone mode, powered by autonomous systems (solar panels, batteries...), or integrated with the existing plant systems and assets.

Meet our challenge!


Tipologia: Challenge prize

Fonte: https://openinnovability.enel.com/projects/Mass-flow-meter-device-for-hydroelectric-applications

Paese: Brasile, Messico, ITALIA, Svizzera, Spagna, Australia, Norvegia, Repubblica Ceca, India, Regno Unito, Danimarca, Cina, Germania, Cile, Sudafrica, Serbia, Francia, Finlandia, Austria, Giappone, Vietnam, Federazione Russa, Paesi Bassi, Egitto, Argentina, Singapore, Malesia, Lituania, Svezia, Israele, Canada, Corea del Sud, Stati Uniti d'America, Belgio

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