Pumping Back Some Power

February 17, 2012 | 3 Comments

Worldwide industry and governments pump water and gravity takes the energy back as water flows.  It’s a huge field for energy recuperation.

Hydrovolts, a hydrokinetic turbine company has made news for its innovative hydrokinetic turbine using software from Autodesk, Inc. for recuperating energy.  Hydrovolts big advantage is the price point and installation.  The smaller models of the design can be installed quickly and are capable of generating power within an hour. The turbines can be installed in rivers, canals or any water body for that matter.

The company aims to install the turbines in wastewater treatment plants.  They have been in talks with Veolia Environmental Solutions, a wastewater treatment processor, for the implementation of the idea.  When it comes to water volume and gravity supplied motion wastewater is a big resource.

Consider the numbers as Burt Hamner, CEO of Hydrovolts has done, finding the reason to focus on wastewater treatment is the opportunities available in U.S. There are over 26,000 wastewater treatment plants and over 100,000 industry treatment plants in the nation.  That’s a lot of sales.

Hydrovolts is looking to put its efforts on facilities that have flows of 25 to 40 million gallons every day. Bigger turbines would be needed in big cities, where entire rivers would run through the treatment plants.

Hamner has been operating in the field of tidal turbine since 2005, and micro hydropower since 2007. The primary stage of finances has been completed and the secondary stage of over a $5 million is under completion.

But aside from the river sized opportunity, smaller scale is ripe with opportunity too.  A portable turbine model is estimated to cost around $2000. The canal-sized turbine, which will have two sizes, ranging from 2 kW to 10 kW, would cost $20,000 and $40,000. Price of the waterfall turbine, which is supposed to have a modular design in two sizes, is yet to be determined as it is still in the development stage. Although these turbines are not big energy generators, they are quite low cost and easy to install, they are definitely a better substitute for producing electricity than just letting all that water just “run down hill”.

Have a look at the video, these little ones are just a slick concept.

Hydrovolt’s waterfall turbine operating with improved installation of ramp and funnel to increase volume and velocity of water hitting the turbine rotor.  Mounted in the West Sound Utility District, Karcher Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, Port Orchard, Washington, during November 2011.

Better work on economies of scale and driving down the price – competition is sure to come for an idea this practical.


3 Comments so far

  1. Benjamin Cole on February 17, 2012 11:21 AM

    A great idea! I hope the economics work out.

  2. Jagdish on February 19, 2012 5:46 AM

    Waste water volumes are generally small and the waste effluents are generally corrosive or toxic. falls are also generally small. I do not see much benefit in waste waters.
    There is, however a great scope of this technology in harnessing the kinetic energy of ocean currents. It would be a bigger power source of hydro-electric energy than even the rivers. The turbines will have to be anchored in the currents but it could cost much less than the dams constructed for the purpose. At present the hydro-electric power is generally economical only as a side benefit of irrigation or flood management schemes.

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