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Tiexinqiao Water Experiment Center
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River and Lake Research Center at Wuxi
15 Years’ Endeavor in Technical Support to the Baihetan Hydropower Project Construction
Post Time:2021-07-14Front:[ Large Medium Small ]

On the morning of Jun. 28, 2021, the first batch of generating units in the Baihetan Hydropower Project (BHP), the largest hydropower project under construction in the world, were put into operation and officially connected to the national grid.

The BHP, the world’s second largest hydropower project after the Three-Gorge Hydropower Project, locates at the downstream reach of the main stream of the Jinsha River, which runs through Ningnan County, Liangshan Prefecture, Sichuan Province and Qiaojia County, Zhaotong City, Yunnan Province. With its total installed capacity of 16 million KW, its unit capacity is 1 million KW, ranking the top in the world.

The BHP is a giant hydropower project, with a max. dam height of 289 m and a max. discharge from the dam of about 30000 m3/s. In addition, there are 3 non-pressure flood discharging tunnels beside the dam, with each discharge capacity of 4000 m3/s. Due to its high operation head and location at a long and narrow valley, flood discharge power is huge. Especially, flood discharge from the dam ranks the first among arch dams in the world. The general layout of the BHP and high dam hydraulics are the key issues related to the project safety.

Since 2006, NHRI has carried out systematic technical researches on the project general layout, flood discharge energy dissipation, river channel erosion, flow conditions at the water inlets and outlets of power station, flood discharge atomization, power generation efficiency and operation scheduling of the project. Research findings have powerfully supported the safe impoundment and power generation of the BHP.

In order to profoundly study the rationality of the project general layout, design reliability of flood discharge energy dissipation, and hydraulic coordination among respective release structures, as well as the similarity requirements of each topic study, NHRI set up 3 models of flood discharge from the dam with the scales of 1:100, 1:50 and 1:35, respectively, with which an in-depth scale effect study of the water tongue of flood discharge was conducted. And taking the above study results as theoretic basis, a large-scale integral simulation method was innovatively put forward, and a large-scale integral hydraulic model (model scale 1:50) of the project built, which finely modeled the valley and fluvial geomorphology of 1 km upstream and 4 km downstream the dam site, and water release and power generation structures including flood discharge orifices in the dam, cushion pool, flood discharging tunnels, water inlets and outlets of power station, underground tunnels and chambers group, etc. The synchronous simulation of hydraulic problems caused by flood discharge energy dissipation, atomization, aeration, river diversion, water diversion for power generation was realized, the interaction between water release and power generation structures fully considered, and the overall optimization of the project layout achieved. The model size is the largest in the world, advancing China’s hydraulic simulation technology to a new height.

Models of energy dissipation of flood discharge from dam (scale: 1:100 and 1:35)

Integral model of the Baihetan Hydropower Project

Flow regime of flood discharge from dam in integral BHP model

Along with the intensive construction of the BHP, NHRI researchers successively undertook several special researches on hydraulics by giving full play to the technical advantages of large-scale integral model. After more than ten years of hard work, many major achievements have been made in high dam hydraulics. The arrangement type of flood discharge orifices in the dam has been innovated, realizing symmetric energy dissipation in cushion pool with the arrangement of asymmetric energy dissipation of flood discharge from the dam, and solving the major technical difficulties of energy dissipation of flood discharge with super power by reducing a max. surge pressure on cushion pool from 20×9.8   kPa to 12×9.8 kPa. Unfavorable flow regime at the inlets of flood discharging tunnels has been eliminated, reducing the cavitation risks of flood discharging tunnel outlets caused by hypervelocity flow so as to guarantee the operation safety of 3 flood discharging tunnels. A movable bed modelling method of river channel has been innovatively proposed, determining the excavating sideline and desilting elevation of the river channel downstream the outlets of flood discharging tunnels to ensure the safety of the river channel in energy dissipation zone and to mitigate the influence of siltation on power generation at the same time. The slope protection scope of flood discharge atomization zone has been put forward, ensuring the stability of high slope of the atomization zone. The boundary condition of the water inlets and outlets of power station has been optimized, and the integrated regulation scheme of downstream river channel proposed, effectively decreasing the tail water level of power generation and significantly improving the efficiency of power generation. The operation scheduling principle of water release structures at different impoundment stages has been put forward, playing an important role in the initial impoundment of the project and the power generation of the first unit on time.

Flow regime of flood discharge by discharging tunnel

River channel model for the Baihetan Hydropower Project (scale: 1:100)

Research team at the construction site

On the occasion of successful initial impoundment of the project and the first million-kilowatt hydropower generating unit putting into operation, NHRI will continue to uphold its research spirit of "diligence, rigorousness, truth-seeking and innovation", and use its professionalism to escort the pillars of a great power and to pay tribute to the centennial celebration of CPC.




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