Sustainability, Vol. 13, Pages 10717: DuoTurbo: Implementation of a Counter-Rotating Hydroturbine for Energy Recovery in Drinking Water Networks
Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su131910717
To enhance the sustainability of water supply systems, the development of new technologies for micro scale hydropower remains an active field of research. The present paper deals with the implementation of a new micro-hydroelectric system for drinking water facilities, targeting a gross capacity between 5 kW and 25 kW. A counter-rotating microturbine forms the core element of the energy recovery system. The modular in-line technology is supposed to require low capital expenditure, targeting profitability within 10 years. One stage of the DuoTurbo microturbine is composed of two axial counter-rotating runners, each one featured with a wet permanent magnet rim generator with independent speed regulation. This compact mechanical design facilitates the integration into existing drinking water installations. A first DuoTurbo product prototype is developed by means of a Computational Fluid Dynamics based hydraulic design along with laboratory tests to assess system efficiency and characteristics. The agreements between simulated and measured hydraulic characteristics with absolute errors widely below 5% validate the design approach to a large extent. The developed product prototype provides a maximum electrical power of 6.5 kW at a maximum hydraulic head of 75 m, reaching a hydroelectric peak efficiency of 59%. In 2019, a DuoTurbo pilot was commissioned at a drinking water facility to assess its long-term behavior and thus, to validate advanced technology readiness levels. To the best of the authors knowledge, it is the first implementation of a counter-rotating microturbine with independent runner speed regulation and wet rim generators in a real-world drinking water facility. A complete year of operation is monitored without showing significant drifts of efficiency and vibration. The demonstration of the system in operational environment at pre-commercial state is validated that can be attributed to a technology readiness level of 7. The overall results of this study are promising regarding further industrialization steps and potential broad-scale applicability of the DuoTurbo microturbine in the drinking water industry.
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