NYPA Engineer from White Plains Receives Award from National Research Organization

Maura Balaban
(914) 390-8171

July 10, 2013


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WHITE PLAINS—White Plains resident Jiankang (Jay) Zhu, a research and technology development engineer for the New York Power Authority (NYPA),  has been recognized by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) for pioneering work to employ acoustic Doppler technology to measure river flow rates at NYPA’s Niagara Hydroelectric Power Plant in Lewiston, N.Y.

Zhu received EPRI’s 2013 Technology Transfer Award earlier this year for spearheading a long-term study to gather more accurate, real-time measurements of water flows at the Niagara plant.  The project officially began in 2006 with the installation of an Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) by the channel that feeds water into the plant. By transmitting sound waves at a constant frequency into the water, the ADCP device calculates how fast the water is moving from the sound waves that bounce off the moving water particles. Zhu has been monitoring and analyzing the ADCP data for several years and comparing its data with NYPA’s flow calculations based on water elevation.  

“Zhu’s diligent and careful analysis of the ADCP data is at the heart of this project’s success,” said Khalil Shalabi, NYPA chief technology officer, and director of research and development.  “With EPRI’s support, we have demonstrated this equipment can provide more accurate, real-time data on river flows and currents, and the technology is ready for real-world applications—with potential benefits for optimizing hydroelectric power plant operations and lowering costs.”

NYPA’s Niagara plant is located about 4.5 miles downstream from Niagara Falls. Two intakes upriver of the falls feed water to the Niagara plant. The amount of water diverted for hydroelectric production is determined by various requirements, including a treaty between the U.S. and Canada.  All of the requirements that impact river flows make accurate and real-time recording of flows crucially important for the operation of the Niagara plant and were critical factors in selecting the plant as the site for the acoustic Doppler study.

A native of China, Zhu holds Master of Science degree in mechanical engineering from Tongji University in China and a Ph.D. in engineering science and mechanics from the University of Alabama. He joined NYPA in 2006 after working as a test analyst with G.E. Energy in Greenville, S.C. in 2005.

About EPRI:

The Electric Power Research Institute, Inc. (EPRI, conducts research and development relating to the generation, delivery and use of electricity for the benefit of the public. An independent, nonprofit organization, EPRI brings together its scientists and engineers as well as experts from academia and industry to help address challenges in electricity, including reliability, efficiency, health, safety and the environment. EPRI’s members represent more than 90 percent of the electricity generated and delivered in the United States, and international participation extends to 40 countries. EPRI’s principal offices and laboratories are located in Palo Alto, Calif.; Charlotte, N.C.; Knoxville, Tenn.; and Lenox, Mass.

About NYPA:

The New York Power Authority uses no tax money or state credit. It finances its operations through the sale of bonds and revenues earned in large part through sales of electricity. ■ NYPA has been designated as the lead entity via Executive Order 88 by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to form a central management and implementation plan to carry out his Build Smart NY plan to reduce energy use by state facilities by 20 percent by 2020. ■ NYPA is the nation's largest state public power organization, through the operation of its 16 generating facilities in various parts of New York State, participation in a unique public/private partnership to contract for power from a clean generating plant in Queens, and its operation of more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines. ■ More than 70 percent of the electricity NYPA produces is clean renewable hydropower. Its lower-cost power production and electricity purchases support hundreds of thousands of jobs throughout the state.■ For more information visit or follow @NYPAenergy on Twitter.

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