Building an Invisible and Soundless Power Plant in Italy

The Villoresi Channel

Milan, Italy

Challenge
The Villoresi Channel, located north of Milan, was designed with the main purpose of agricultural irrigation while providing water to the city of Milan. The paths running along the canal were also used for recreational purposes and cross through some of the most beautiful natural parks in Lombardy. Later, European mandates were instituted requiring the reduction of water consumption by 30% adversely impacting a region which benefits greatly from agriculture and farming income. Alessandro Folli, Chairman of the Consortium of Reclamation Ticino Villoresi, recognized that the channel had become not only a tourist attraction, but that it also performed water management tasks while contributing as an important source of power. As a result of these findings, a transformation of this canal into a multifunctional resource was set in motion with the goal to ensure the river would continue to be a sustainable resource economically as well as to provide a reliable water irrigation supply for farmers.

Solution
It was determined that submersible technology would be ideal for these requirements. Based upon Xylem’s extensive experience with the design and installation of submersible equipment, engineers Mario Fossati, Fulvio Bernabei and Davida Bavera, among other external consultants, requested Xylem’s expert assistance with this project. In favor of the Xylem solutions, Engineer Bavera points out that the submersible electric generators were much less labor intensive to install due to their compact design. The units were laid on pre-assembled stands with three-phase asynchronous generators cooled by surrounding liquid. These features were beneficial in reducing the size of the hydroelectric power plant.

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