Performance Through Innovation

All the company’s divisions (power generation, transmission and distribution), in partnership with IREQ, industry and universities, can innovate to improve Hydro-Québec's performance and provide better service to customers.

Innovating to maximize output

Jean Philippe Charest-Fournier, a technician
at Hydro-Québec’s research institute, works on a generator model for the AUPALE project. This project aims to increase the capacity of existing generators through a thorough modeling of their parameters.

At Hydro-Québec Production, most of the technological innovation is intended to improve the performance of generating facilities, with a view to sustainable development.

Examples of innovations to optimize generation operating and maintenance activities

Increasing alternator capacity

AUPALE project (generator uprating): To increase the capacity of alternators without compromising their service life, Hydro-Québec Production, in collaboration with IREQ, developed a digital multiphysical model (electromagnetic, thermal, mechanical and fluid) of generator response.

Reducing the number of unscheduled turbine shutdowns

PREDDIT project (turbine damage prediction and integrated diagnostics): To reduce the number of unscheduled shutdowns in turbines and plan refurbishment and refitting projects according to actual turbine condition, Hydro-Québec Production, along with IREQ, developed tools for diagnostic tests on turbines (cracking, cavitation and corrosion) and optimized runner repair and welding methods.

Innovating to improve transmission service

A team uses the LineScout robot to inspect live transmission lines at the crossing of the Saint-Laurent, near Île d’Orléans.

Innovation efforts in power transmission focus on several areas:

  • Improving system performance and protection
  • Asset sustainment and prevention of failures
  • Development of robotics applied to live-line maintenance
  • Perfecting power system simulation tools based on industry needs

Examples of innovations for a smarter grid and improved grid behavior

New technologies, their applications, and their impact on the grid are tested in the power system simulation laboratory, which is among the world’s most advanced laboratories of its kind. In addition to offline simulators, IREQ uses Hypersim, an extremely advanced real-time simulator that optimizes power system design and operation.
Developing an increasingly smart transmission system

Hydro-Québec TransÉnergie, in collaboration with IREQ, Hydro-Québec Production and
Hydro-Québec Distribution, developed a design for an adaptive grid equipped with controllers, sensors, analysis systems and other devices necessary for continuous monitoring of strategic equipment—the basis of real-time management.

Improving grid behavior

As part of the ACOR (grid response improvement) project, Hydro-Québec TransÉnergie continues to develop and rollout supervisory control and other systems to increase system transfer capability.

Innovating to improve distribution service

Testing of a remote manipulator developed by IREQ and used by line workers to lift live distribution line conductors.
Testing of a remote manipulator developed by IREQ and used by line workers to lift live distribution line conductors.

Hydro-Québec Distribution counts on innovation to enhance system performance and reliability, ensure the long-time operability of its assets and improve customer energy efficiency as well as the efficiency of its own facilities.

Examples of innovations for improving service and safety

Improving the continuity of service

To reduce the number and duration of outages, Hydro-Québec Distribution is continuing to roll out the MILE system (intelligent power line maintenance), which detects and locates faults on the network. This technology was developed in collaboration with IREQ.

Ensuring worker safety

It is important for workers to be able to quickly and easily detect electrical discharges, as this helps keep them safe on the job. That’s why Hydro-Québec's thermography trucks are equipped with a partial-discharge detector designed so that personnel can work on the underground system safely and without having to cut power. This tool was developed by IREQ.

Cable workers Alexandre Décarie and Jean Marie Eyango Eyango install a medium-voltage cable at Mont-Royal substation in Montréal
Cable workers Alexandre Décarie and Jean Marie Eyango Eyango install a medium-voltage cable at Mont-Royal substation in Montréal.

One example of an innovation for increased energy efficiency

An interface screenshot of SIMEB, software that simulates a building’s energy consumption
An interface screenshot of SIMEB, software that simulates a building’s energy consumption.
Optimizing energy efficiency projects

IREQ’s energy technologies laboratory (LTE) has developed a new version of SIMEB. This software program simulates the energy consumption of commercial and institutional buildings, be they new or existing. SIMEB is made available to building professionals free of charge.

Innovation supporting construction projects

Asphalt concrete placement at Romaine-2. This new method, tested at Némiscau-1 dam will reduce the risks related to construction lead times and costs.
Asphalt concrete placement at Romaine-2. This new method, tested at Némiscau-1 dam, will reduce the risks related to construction lead times and costs.

The teams at Hydro-Québec Équipement approach design, engineering, construction, the environment and all other aspects of construction projects with a single goal in mind: use the best methods and technologies available and find new and improved solutions in order to deliver top-performing facilities.

Examples of innovations for optimizing construction projects

A view of the line linking Mont-Louis and Gros-Morne wind farms to Goémon substation, under construction
A view of the line linking Mont-Louis and Gros-Morne wind farms to Goémon substation, under construction.
Adapting to climate change

Several innovations were required to build the line linking Mont-Louis and Gros-Morne wind farms to Goémon substation in Haute Gaspésie. The line crosses seven valleys where winter weather conditions are particularly conducive to icing. Among the innovations used were four tower designs able to withstand heavy ice loading.

Adapting to site conditions

A core of asphalt concrete can be used to make a dam watertight instead of till. Hydro-Québec adopted this technique when building Nemiscau-1 dam as part of the Eastmain-1-A/Sarcelle/Rupert project. It will put this technique to use in other projects, like the Romaine complex, where moraine is unavailable.

Innovation serving personal and public transportation

Expert chemical technician Patrick Charest operating the mixer in IREQ’s nanopowder room.
Expert chemical technician Patrick Charest operating the mixer in IREQ’s nanopowder room.

IREQ has developed extensive expertise in lithium-ion battery materials for ground transportation. These materials are more environmentally friendly and offer many advantages in terms of safety and performance.

Projects under way deal with the physical components (powders and solvents) of batteries for various applications: personal and public transportation.

IREQ’s work leads to significant technological breakthroughs and the signing of commercial agreements and partnering arrangements.

Examples of innovations for electric motors

Promising tests for more efficient batteries

IREQ conducted promising tests on anodes composed of natural graphite or titanate. The anodes are expected to offer greater energy and power, reduced charging time and increased battery life.

International marketing of battery materials

Hydro-Québec, the Université de Montréal and France’s Centre national de la recherche scientifique, co-owners of the rights to key patents for the production of lithium metal phosphates (LMP), including lithium iron phosphate (LFP), and their use in lithium-ion batteries, established a new base for the international marketing of these products, in conjunction with the Swiss firm Clariant.

Electric powertrains

TM4, a subsidiary of Hydro-Québec, and Prestolite Electric Beijing formed a joint venture in February 2012 to provide electric propulsion systems for buses and trucks in Asia. TM4 also supplies Asian markets with technologies related to light electric vehicles. All TM4 technologies related to the transportation and energy sectors are offered on other markets across the globe.

Buses for the future

Under a project by the Ministère de l’Enseignement supérieur, de la Recherche, de la Science et de la Technologie to promote a future electric bus, TM4 started developing a powertrain for heavy vehicles.

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Technological innovation