Hydraulic Design Challenges of High Head 880 MW Gouvães Pumped-Storage Power Plant

Christophe Nicolet*, Christian Landry, Wolfgang Richter, Juan Carlos Vera Rodriguez, Luis de la Torre Abietar, Gerald Zenz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paperpeer-review


The 880 MW pumped-storage power plant of Gouvães, which is part of the Alto T mega hydro power scheme from Iberdrola is currently under construction in the north of Portugal. The power plant is equipped with 4 reversible Francis pump-turbines with a gross head of 660 m. The power plant features several challenges with respect to the hydraulic design such as: i) ultra-high-head single stage reversible Francis pump-turbine of very low specific speed leading to severe hydraulic transients, ii) a long high-pressure penstock, iii) an headrace differential surge tank linked to a 4700 meters long headrace tunnel and iv) a complex tailrace differential surge tank linked to a 700 meters long tailrace tunnel. To perform the hydraulic design of the pumped-storage power plant, a stepwise approach presented in the paper was undertaken by Iberdrola. A detailed 1D hydraulic transient analysis was performed to optimize the headrace and tailrace surge tank dimensions. Then a combined CFD and reduced scale physical transient tests of both surge tanks was conducted. This enabled to address the complex 3D flow physics that develop in surge tanks but are not captured by 1D transient simulations such as free surface, upsurges against walls, verification of throttle singular head losses and effects not captured by 3D CFD such as air-water mixture and detection of air entrainment risk.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of 30th IAHR Symposium on Hydraulic Machinery and Systems
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2021
Event30th IAHR Symposium on Hydraulic Machinery and Systems: IAHR 2020 - Virtuell, Switzerland
Duration: 21 Mar 202126 Mar 2021

Publication series

NameIOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science
PublisherCurran Associates, Inc
ISSN (Print)1755-1307


Conference30th IAHR Symposium on Hydraulic Machinery and Systems
Abbreviated titleIAHR 2020


  • Surge Tank
  • Hydraulic System
  • Transient Hydraulics
  • Pumped Storage Hydropower
  • Energy Storage
  • Hydraulic Machinery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences

Cite this