Normally all devices have their lifetime. They would be worn out and need to be replaced like components of machines installed at the power plants. However, some pieces of such equipment may cost tens of millions of baht while they have to be imported from overseas. However, since the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) has conducted research and development continually, EGAT is able to develop devices for being replaced at its power plants. On behalf of a government agency, EGAT can avoid suffering a loss from spending for high-value equipment. Meanwhile, its in-house invention helps ensure electrical power efficiency and security as well. Let us check what kind of device that Thai officials contrived accordingly.

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          EGAT-DGC System

          EGAT Digital Governor Control or EGAT-DGC is a hydro-turbine governing system used in hydropower plants. It was invented by EGAT’s officials from Electrical Maintenance Division in order to replace its existing system that was imported and had been used for a long period. The research was led by Mr. Tanabodee Duangsroitong, the Head of Electrical Machinery Control System Section and Mr. Natheephong Setheetheerayos, Engineer Level 7 from Boiler and Turbine Control System Section.

          Mr. Natheephong said that hydropower plants that had been operated for quite some time would be deteriorated, especially a governor control that could be run-down and caused instability to power plant’s operations and power supply. The power plant’s equipment was normally purchased from overseas, so that its price was very high. For instance, one governor control could cost more than Baht 15 million.

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          How Important is the Governor Control System?

          The governor control system’s main function is tocontrol hydro-turbine system in hydropower plant. The governor control system comprises 2 functions. During power plant startup, it shall control turbine drive at rated speed or 50 hertz, which is equal to speed of a major power system, in order that the power plant’s generator can be synchronized with the major power system. Then the governor control shall adjust volumes of electrical power supplied to the major power system as required by the Power Control Center.

          Since members of the research team have been working on power plant maintenance for many years, they understand well how its systems and equipment function. As a result of their abilities and keen observations, the team could figure out advantages and limitations of the governor control of each brand. Then, with their deep experiences and modern technology knowledge, they customized the governor control system and named it “EGAT-DGC”.

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          Standard Quality and Economizing Equipment

          The EGAT-DGC’s main processor is a programmable logic controller (PLC), which is a popular technology used in industrial field at present. The EGAT-DGC’s prominent point includes its design that is well fit for being used at EGAT’s hydropower plants. Its function is stable, while its quality is comparable to system from overseas. Moreover, its cost of development is only Baht 5 million per 1 unit which is lower than the cost of imported governor control system around Baht 10 million. Currently, more than 10 units of EGATDGC are installed at EGAT’s hydropower plants.This system helps reduce huge amount of EGAT’s expenditure.

          The first EGAT-DGC was installed at Mae Ngat Somboon Chon Dam in 2006. Later, many units of them had been developed and installed at hydropower plants including Srinagarind Dam, Tha Thung Na Dam, Rajjaprabha Dam, Vajiralongkorn Dam and Ubol Ratana Dam. Many awards to assure EGAT-DGC’s quality and accomplishment were granted such as the Gold Prize and the Special Prize, which were given by Russia at the Seoul International Invention Fair 2014, Seoul, Korea. Moreover, EGAT-DGC received the EGAT Outstanding Invention Award 2012 and the Second Prize of the year 2013 from Kamthon Sindhvananda Foundation which normally arranges and gives awards to researchers and developers that provide advantages to EGAT.

          As distance tests a horse’s strength, so does time reveal a person’s real ability. For more than 10 years through trials and errors including working undiscouragedly together, the team’s excellent performance has been proved and witnessed by both Thai and foreigners.

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          How does Hydropower Plant Operate?

          Hydropower plant generates electricity by capturing kinetic energy of falling or flowing water or wave motion to spin turbine and generator. Volume of electrical power derived from water energy depends on volume of water, the difference of water levels, and turbine and generator’s efficiencies.

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