Innovating for energy

Our R&D approach

CNR places innovation at the heart of its corporate project. To do that, it relies on RID (Research, Innovation and Development) which makes it an international reference in the sector of renewable energies.


modelisation-au-laboratoire-de-lyon-projet-penelop2 Over 80 years, CNR has implemented a voluntarist research, innovation and development (RID) policy to design its own tools and improve their performances. CNR benefits from three advantages and it is one of the rare French companies capable of combining them: an integrated engineering division, its own laboratory, the CACOH (link to page Engineering/CACOHP 106), and its hydropower, wind power and solar power plants that permit the full scale implementation of the projects stemming from its RID activities. CNR’s research can be divided into four main directions:

Opening out to the scientific community and partnerships

As member of several technical and scientific associations, CNR communicates regularly at scientific conferences in France and abroad. Its best specialists teach at engineering schools. CNR is also a partner with other actors in research in public institutions, universities and industry. Lastly, CNR participates in clusters such as TENERRDIS in the Rhone Alps Region, CAPENERGIES in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur Region link to and in the civil engineering centre of excellence, INDURA.

Using drones to monitor dikes

Here the aim is to determine the geometry of dike type structures to within one centimetre using aerial photographs taken by drones. This precision is necessary in order to make comparisons between two successive conditions of a dike. This system is more precise, faster and more economic than the topometric systems currently used.

On the same subject

  • Discover the CACOH, CNR’s hydraulics laboratory

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1 - The management of hydroelectricity structures

A- Maintenance and safety of structures

  • Optical fibre: developing and validating a reinforced and continuous monitoring methodology applied to dikes through the installation of optical fibres.
  • The Boreal collaborative project: strengthening the characteristics of earth fill hydraulic structures using a bio-calcification process (precipitation of calcite catalysed by bacteria).

B- Optimisation of the production tool

  • Projet collaboratif Penelop2: after five years of research and development, relying in particular on a physical model of the dam-central of Vaugris achieved at the CACOH, the Penelop2 project ended in 2015. Its solutions are deployed today in several hydropower plants CNR, to improve their performance.
2 - New renewable energies

A- Intermittent energy management

APOGEES : CNR designs in-house and constantly improves its own tools for forecasting production, placing its energy on markets and managing its assets in real time. APOGEES, a novel tool wholly developed by CNR, is a genuine showcase of our knowhow in forecasting the production of intermittent energies (wind power, solar power, small hydropower plants).

 

B- Electricity storage, smart grids and electric mobility

  • Green hydrogen: in response to future needs for the mass storage of renewable energies and zero emission modes of transport, CNR is now involved in the hydrogen sector via innovative pre-industrial scale demonstration projects (HYWAY project : HYWAY).
  • Electric charging and roaming: to combine the production of intermittent energies and electric mobility, CNR has developed the Move in Pure .CNR is continuing its works in favour of smart electric charging and roaming applied to electric mobility in the framework of the European SEAS project to develop open source tools and smart grid solutions.
3- ENVIRONNEMENT ET BIODIVERSITÉ

A- Biodiversity

Backed by its global vision of rivers, CNR approaches environmental problems with novel ideas: the management of dike vegetation, restoration of the wetlands of the bypassed sections of the Rhone. In particular, CNR carries out studies and experiments to combat Fallopia japonica (an invasive plant).

B- Migrating fish

CNR is studying the impact of hydroelectricity structures on the migration of eels in order to formulate a plan to permit this species to repopulate wetlands. For example, the project for a fish pass at Sauveterre dam with the use of discharge flows as attraction flows.

C- Sediment management

  • A cross disciplinary study has been launched at CNR to better understand the phenomena involved in sediment remobilisation, using the dam of Champagneux as an example. The objective is to optimise our dredging operations.
4- Hydrometeorological and hydraulic models

A- Hydrometeorological forecasts

  • Short term forecasts: rainfall and flow rates, wind, sunshine
  • Medium term forecasts: the evolution of the snow pack in order to manage volumes of water at seasonal scale
  • Long term: the impacts of climate change, evolution of uses and resources

B- Improving measurement methods

  • Knowledge of flowrates in structures and rivers is fundamental for their safety, ensuring conformity with regulatory constraints and optimising production. In the framework of the Penelop2 project, different methods for measuring flowrates in turbines - traditional (current flowmeters) and innovative (ASFM, ADCP) – have been tested and compared.
  • CNR carries out measurement campaigns aimed at reducing the uncertainties on flowrate measurements in rivers using ADCP equipment (measurement instruments). They are organised within CNR, or in the framework of comparative inter-laboratory campaigns.

Opening out to the scientific community and partnerships

As member of several technical and scientific associations, CNR communicates regularly at scientific conferences in France and abroad. Its best specialists teach at engineering schools. CNR is also a partner with other actors in research in public institutions, universities and industry. Lastly, CNR participates in clusters such as TENERRDIS in the Rhone Alps Region, CAPENERGIES in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur Region link to and in the civil engineering centre of excellence, INDURA.

Using drones to monitor dikes

Here the aim is to determine the geometry of dike type structures to within one centimetre using aerial photographs taken by drones. This precision is necessary in order to make comparisons between two successive conditions of a dike. This system is more precise, faster and more economic than the topometric systems currently used.