Daniel Lee: Graduating Researcher of the Hydro Research Foundation

Daniel Lee

Editor's Note: This is the latest in a series of profiles provided by the Hydro Research Foundation that highlight potential future members of the hydroelectric power industry and their accomplishments.

The Hydro Research Foundation is actively supporting graduate students to conduct research related to conventional and pumped storage hydropower. These students are funded through the Department of Energy’s Water Power Program and industry partners through a two-year, $1 million grant.

Daniel Lee received his undergraduate degree in Renewable Energy Engineering from the Oregon Institute of Technology in June 2013, graduating magna cum laude. He is currently pursuing the Master’s degree at Oregon Institute of Technology. As of 2013, he has worked for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at the Center of Expertise, the Hydro Electric Design Center. The hydro industry will benefit from his new findings from his research which will hopefully change the way governors for hydro facilities are designed and currently evaluated. Upon graduation he plans to continue learning and supporting the hydro industry in its growth.

Lee's research was titled "Water Start up Time Validation and Model Test of Spiral Cases". Water start-up time is the time required for water in an infinitesimal stream tube to accelerate from zero to rated discharge. Water start-up time is of significance because it is a component in determining the flow regulating abilities of a governor. It is also a constant used in hydropower facility output models. The ratio of mechanical start-up time to water start-up time is the ratio used to determine the control abilities of a governor and in the industry a value of greater than four is ideal. The calculation of water start up time for spiral case designs uses a length over area ratio is multiplied by a geometric guess of 0.5.

The data gathered from a new mathematical model suggests that the length over area ratio modifier is closer to 0.4. This would suggest that the ability of the governor system has been underestimated. Such a discovery would allow for more grid penetration for unstable renewable energy sources onto the grid due to the underestimated ability of these governors. The scope of the research is to physically demonstrate the validity of the results of a new method of calculating water start-up time with a physical model to calculate water start up time for a spiral case.

The method to validate the model would be to build a spiral case model in which an intensive number of trials for instantaneous gate opening simulation is possible. The testing will reveal a difference between the calculated value of water start up time and a measured value of water start up time. The validation testing will show if the new calculation method is correct. If the validation test results do not match the mathematical prediction, a new value will be demonstrated for the hydro industry to consider.

This research will benefit the hydropower industry as it will help improve how governments engage the hydroelectric power industry and how the hydroelectric power industry engages stakeholders in their decision making processes. This research will determine how best to utilize these new approaches to decision making, incorporating sound science as well as economic and political realities.

Lee is actively seeking a hydro related career nowTo connect with Lee or learn more about the Research Awards Program please email info@hydrofoundation.org or visit the website www.hydrofoundation.org.

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