Using hydropower waterway locks for energy storage and renewable energies integration

Gilton Carlos de Andrade Furtado, André Luiz Amarante Mesquita, Alessandro Morabito, Patrick Hendrick, Julian D. Hunt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Waterway are one of the most efficient means for transportation. It can be applied for energy storage demonstrating the potential of using these structures with renewable energy systems, here, through an analysis of energy alternatives. This paper analyzes two different solutions for energy supply, using the Locks of the Tucuruí powerplant, in Brazil. A photovoltaic power station is compared to a hybrid system composed by photovoltaic and pumped storage. The alternatives are discussed technically and economically. The energy costs of the scenarios are calculated based on the evolution of the expenses and the related payback time are found. The water resource is exploited responsibly, keeping balanced the pumped and turbined volumes of water. The grid works as an intermediate storage and allows the operations with a single pump-turbine conversion. Its location lowers down the initial investment in favor of the hybrid system as the more viable alternative. It was found that the locks could be used to handle up to 263 kW and 387 kW of electricity in turbine and pump mode, respectively. This paper gathers crucial data on the use of hydropower in waterways locks that support the integration of renewable energies surrounding the locks. In addition, the use of pumped storage plants to store energy from intermittent sources, present themselves as an innovative opportunity to, using the own head available at facility, improve the financial return of meeting the energy demand through an economically and environmentally responsible energy system, may be useful in similar facilities around the world.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalApplied Energy
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Energy
  • Civil and Structural Engineering


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