On September 15, Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University hosted an international conference “Monitoring to Extend Life Span of Tall Dams: Reliable Water and Electricity Supply for Decarbonization.” The conference was held within the framework of the German-Georgian project DAMAST Transfer.
Rector of TSU, George Sharvashidze, representatives of the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia, the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, National Environmental Agency, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), leading scientists from DAMAST Transfer and German Ambassador to Georgia, Ernst Peter Fischer attended the event.
TSU Rector George Sharvashidze spoke about the importance of the project for the country and the development of science, noting that the results of the research conducted within the DAMAST project are very important for energy sector and the country’s energy independence: “Enguri HPP monitoring was carried out using modern equipment, and Georgian scientists and their colleagues from the Federal Republic of Germany were involved in the process. The result we achieved is extremely interesting and, simultaneously, thought-provoking. Enguri HPP will exhaust its potential in about 30 years. After that, a problem will arise, about 40% of electricity will remain unfilled. Therefore, our country and partners should start thinking about what kind of strategic decision must be made, whether we need renewable energy or not, how we should optimally use the hydro resources that our country is rich in; how to properly communicate with the population; also, education of young scientists, which is an important component of our cooperation. About 20 young people will go to Karlsruhe Institute of Technology to undergo relevant training, join research, and familiarize themselves with modern research methods.”
Nino Tsereteli of the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia said that “the whole world is facing huge challenges; therefore, the results of the DAMAST project are important not only for Georgia and the region, but also for the whole world.”
The key results of the DAMAST (Monitoring Technologies for Safe and Efficient Operation of Hydropower Reservoirs) project achieved through the collaboration between Georgian scientists from TSU and Georgian Technical University (GTU) and German scientists from EIFER, Piewak & Partner and KIT were presented at the conference. The participants also presented monitoring systems and the results of first (about two-year) measurements – seismicity, geomechanics, dam deformation research.
Professor Frank Schilling of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology noted that they are studying the life expectancy and life extension issues of hydro power plants like Enguri, adding that they had a lot of detailed information and measurement data from the Enguri region, based on which they would present the first results, as well as the ideas on how to introduce and implement certain measures in the future.
Scientists from TSU, the Institute of Geophysics at TSU, and Georgian Technical University, as well as students who actively participated in field works and had an opportunity to gain good experience in practical work, together with German and Georgian scientists, participated in the project. The project provides a scientific answer to important questions for the country: energy independence of Georgia, how much the country needs HPPs, what effects HPPs have, whether HPPs are included in green energy resources, etc.
“Within the framework of the projects, unique equipment was brought to Georgia, innovative methods were introduced, and complex studies of tall dams were conducted. This allows to determine exactly how viable they are, how efficiently the HPPs work, where we can expect risks and how to avoid these risks. In this respect, this project is unique. Enguri is one of the tallest dams in the world and the methods by which the HPP was studied will be transferred to regions and countries with similar HPPs. These projects will probably become the basis for the creation of an international center for hydropower research in Georgia, which is very important and will promote the development of the fields that are underdeveloped in our country,” Nino Tsereteli of the TSU Institute of Geophysics, noted.
Within the framework of DAAD-STG (sustainable goal development) project, TSU and GTU students, masters, doctoral students, and young scientists will go to the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology for the next four years to conduct scientific research there. “At the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, I was involved in receiving information from the stations installed at the Enguri HPP and processing the data. Within the framework of the project, I studied unique methods, how to detect local seismic events and then process the data. We will continue our work based on the results of the research,” TSU student Nazi Tughushi said.
At this stage, three projects are being implemented with the financial support of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research with a total budget exceeding EUR 7,500,000.
DAMAST - Monitoring Technologies for Safe and Efficient Operation of Hydropower Reservoirs 2019-2022
DAMAST – Transfer - Seismic monitoring for the safety of Chuberi Gorge, 2022-2024
DAAD- STG (sustainable goal development) - Exchange programs for students and senior scientists from TSU and Georgian Technical University (GTU) for earth studies, 2022-2025
The DAMAST project (2019-2022) was dedicated to the long-term efficiency of reservoir operation and the prevention of high costs. It aimed to develop and test transferable and efficient monitoring concepts for dams in tectonically active regions. Innovative methods for data collection and analysis were used within the framework of the project.
The DAMAST – Transfer project (2022-2024) aims to share the knowledge gained under DAMAST with other countries to help manage fresh water and supply the public with clean, reliable, and affordable power. This project is the first step towards the creation of a highly competent international scientific center in the Caucasus. Such center would be ideal for bringing together research on climate change and energy security issues.