Exemplary 3D model of a hydropower dam based on drone data

Voith Hydro has announced it is teaming up with Austrian corporate start-up Strucinspect for digital assessment and tracking of hydropower projects, with the first pilot project being carried out at the Clunie hydropower plant in Scotland.

Strucinspect operates the world's first Infrastructure Lifecycle Hub for digital infrastructure inspection and lifecycle management. The web-based collaboration platform is the core of the company’s portfolio and combines technologies and functions to maintain bridges, tunnels, and dams in a safe, sustainable, and resource-saving manner. Based on that Strucinspect supports customers in transforming their existing infrastructure inspection and management into a fully digitalized process. Configurable technology building blocks allow for individual business solutions enabling effective maintenance decisions.

While the solution is already applied in the transportation infrastructure sector the potential for hydropower dams is now on the rise. 

“The idea is simple and at the same time ingenious,” commented Voith Hydro CTO Dr. Norbert Riedel. “While it has been very complicated to literally keep an eye on your infrastructure, the digital assessment and tracking of civil conditions is now not only made easier but also safer.”

The joint pilot project is now being performed in Scotland at the 72-year-old Clunie station, which is operated by SSE Renewables.

“We are excited about the new opportunities this technology brings and happy with the two companies we have on board for its implementation,” said Stephen Crooks, Renewables (Civil) Engineer at SSE. “With this approach, we have all data managed centrally and generate measurable business value out of it.”

“Currently, inspections of the civil infrastructure at Clunie take place physically,“ explained Albrecht Karlusch, Managing Director at Strucinspect. “However, problems might occur in case damages are not spotted during such manual inspections. And this is exactly where the benefits of our digital inspection technology comes into play.”.

The initial data can for example get collected by drones, underwater devices, or smartphones. This data is transferred to the Infrastructure Lifecycle Hub, where it is analyzed by Artificial Intelligence (AI) and a 3D model is created. Technologies such as Building Information Modeling (BIM) integration or Augmented Reality (AR) can be used as well. In future, digital inspections will be performed in shorter intervals with less manual effort. Even the smallest changes will be identified by the AI-assisted damage detection.

Infrastructure Lifecycle Hub