Livia Ioana Pitorac defended her PhD work on November 16th, 2021

Congratulations to our employee Livia Ioana Pitorac, who is now a PhD from NTNU.

Livia has submitted and publicly defended the following academic thesis as a part of her doctoral work at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering: «Upgrading of Hydropower Plants to Pumped Storage Plants: Tunnel System Hydraulics».

The members of the committee included:

  • Adjunct Professor James Yang, KTH / Vattenfall AB, Sweden (1st Opponent)
  • Steinar Faanes, ENESTOR AS, Norway (2nd Opponent)
  • Associate Professor Fjola Gudrun Sigtryggsdottir, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, NTNU (Administrator of the Committee)

Professor Leif Lia, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, has been the candidate’s main supervisor. Associate Professor Kaspar Vatland Vereide, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Professor Michel Cervantes, Luleå Technical University, have been the candidate’s co-supervisors.

Livia’s thesis presents research on hydropower tunnels for pumped storage plants with multiple surge tanks that resulted in three journal papers. This thesis is organized to answer the following four research objectives:

  • Review of existing Norwegian pumped hydro: design challenges, technological solutions, and operational experience.
  • Verify hydraulic scale modeling for investigations of reconstruction of HPPs to PSPs. Demonstrate on a case study.
  • Identify main challenges associated with the upgrade in terms of tunnel system design and provide solution alternatives.
  • Assess the effect of brook intakes on mass oscillations stability, and its implications for upgrading of hydropower plants with brook intakes.

It is concluded that it is possible to upgrade existing hydropower plants to pumped storage plants by using the existing tunnel system infrastructure with minor modifications.

Livia continues as a Flow Solutions Specialist at Flow Design Bureau AS, and she will contribute to ongoing and new projects at FDB. In her thesis Livia lists suggested future work. Many of her suggestions align with FDBs interests, and chances are that Livia through FDB can continue to contribute within the field of her PhD work.