Design Issues For Geomembrane Lined Hydroelectric Reservoirs In Hot Climates

Author(s) S. Hinchberger, G. Liang
46th Annual H.G. Acres Seminar, Case Studies in Water Power - Design, Construction, and Rehabilitation April 8, 2015. Niagara Falls, Ontario


Geomembrane lined reservoirs are designed for pumped storage facilities and run-of-the-river hydroelectric plants that have been optimized to provide peaking power. Pumped storage facilities generate electricity by transfer water from an upper reservoir to a lower reservoir, through a powerhouse during periods of peak demand. The turbines are then reversed during periods of off-peak demand and the water is pumped from the lower back to the upper reservoir.

Similarly, many run-of-the-river hydroelectric power plants store water in a reservoir during off peak hours and release the water later in the day to generate peaking power as required. These provisions allow hydroelectric facilities to better balance supply and demand. This paper describes design issues associated with geomembrane lined peaking power and pumped storage reservoirs. These types of reservoirs undergo daily filling and emptying cycles, which exposes the lining system to wind uplift, cyclic forces, and ultraviolet radiation. The current state-of-the-art is summarized along with the main design issues including recent service life estimates for exposed geomembrane liners in hot climates.