Seven teams have been selected by the US Bureau of Reclamation to share $80,000 in prize awards as phase one winners in a competition seeking to improve reliability in hydropower facilities.

The Automated Maintenance of Protection Systems Challenge challenged the public to develop innovative solutions that make power systems more reliable by automating maintenance testing of protective relays and transformers. The challenge consists of two phases with the first phase involving the submission of a paper that demonstrates knowledge of the problem, approach to be used to solve the problem and a description on how a prototype will be developed.

The winning teams each receive $10,000 and continue to the second phase of the competition to develop their prototype, with USBR to test the top five prototypes in 2022. The overall winner will receive up to $100,000 and have the potential for a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement or other technology transfer agreement to refine their solution further.

The winners were named as:

  • Michael Gemmer, United States
  • Seyed Mohammadhadi Rahavi, Canada (two submissions selected for award.)
  • MultiSequence Inc., United States
  • Mohammad Maqsudur Rahman, Bangladesh
  • Jose Andrés Quintanilla, Sweden
  • Brett Michael Wilson and Professor Jian Guo Zhu, Australia
  • Matthew Wolter and Matthew Paul, United States

“Solutions here will assist Reclamation and other partners to increase efficiencies in monitoring, testing and automating existing protection systems at its hydropower facilities, said Senior Advisor for Hydropower Max Spiker. “By complimenting traditional design research to target the most persistent science and technology challenges we face today, the AMPS problem solvers further Reclamation’s mission to protect hydroelectric plants and, ultimately, strengthen safety and reliability overall.”

Reclamation is partnering with the Western Area Power Administration, Bonneville Power Administration, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Department of Energy’s WaterPower Technologies Office, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, NASA Tournament Lab, and Arrow Electronics on this prize competition.