Increasing the value of Hydropower through increased Flexibility (HYDROFLEX)
Research Project , 2018 – 2022

HydroFlex aims to increase the value of hydro power through increased Flexibility. The commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change has been an important contributor to the increasing share of renewables in the European energy system. Variable renewable energy sources such as wind and solar, as well as increased end-user flexibility and a market-oriented operation of power plants, results in larger fluctuations in the power system. Hydro power, due to its quick response and storage capability represents an important asset for grid balancing. HydroFlex aims to make hydro power available in a time as short as possible by performing well-focused research and innovation actions on the key bottlenecks of hydro power plants that restricts their flexibility. The project will start off by identifying the operating conditions of hydro power plants in the future energy system. Research will be focused on the flexibility of Francis turbines, the most common turbine type in Europe, and the configuration of synchronous generators and frequency converters that allow for variable speed operation. Variable speed operation increases the operating range of the turbines, reduces the fatigue loads, and allow for higher ramping rates and start-stop-cycles reaching up to 30 times per day. HydroFlex also addresses methods to mitigate the negative effects on downstream water courses that may result from higher flexibility of hydro power plants, by developing and testing a technology for active underground storage of water. To promote the research results to the hydro power industry, the scientific community and the public, the results will be presented in workshops, conferences, scientific journals, newspapers and various social media.


Torbjörn Thiringer (contact)

Full Professor at Chalmers, Electrical Engineering, Electric Power Engineering, Electrical Machines and Power Electronics

Chengjun Tang

Doctoral Student at Chalmers, Electrical Engineering, Electric Power Engineering, Electrical Machines and Power Electronics


ABB Group, Norway

Billingstad, Norway

EDR & Medeso AS

Sandvika, Norway

Luleå University of Technology

Luleå, Sweden

Lyse Energie AS

Stavanger, Norway


Oslo, Norge

Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)

Trondheim, Norway

Rainpower AS

Kjeller, Norway

RWTH Aachen University

Aachen, Germany


Trondheim, Norway

SS Cyril and Methodius University

Skopje, Macedonia

Statkraft AS

Oslo, Norway

The Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA)

Trondheim, Norway

University of Strathclyde

Glasgow, United Kingdom

Uppsala University

Uppsala, Sweden


Stockholm, Sweden


European Commission (EC)

Project ID: 764011
Funding Chalmers participation during 2018–2022

Related Areas of Advance and Infrastructure

Sustainable development

Driving Forces


Areas of Advance


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