Tapping into energy from water mains

June 18, 2007
New technology with the potential to provide enough power to meet the needs of approximately 7,000 homes -- or to illuminate 45 Eiffel Towers -- could soon be operational in the UK. The technology -- which was recently successfully trialed in Stamford, Connecticut, USA -- works by installing intelligent 'micro-turbines' in existing water and wastewater mains, where there is a measurable difference in pressure and available flow. Each turbine is capable of generating several kilowatts of...

SURREY, UK, June 15, 2007 -- New technology with the potential to provide enough power to meet the needs of approximately 7,000 homes -- or to illuminate 45 Eiffel Towers -- could soon be operational in the UK.

The technology -- which was recently successfully trialed in Stamford, Connecticut, USA -- works by installing intelligent 'micro-turbines' in existing water and wastewater mains, where there is a measurable difference in pressure and available flow. Each turbine is capable of generating several kilowatts of energy and early estimates suggest that it can initially be installed in 100 sites in the UK, providing enough energy to boil the water for 24,000 cups of tea every hour.

Pressure energy is an essential element of water distribution and is required to circulate water through distribution systems, ensuring that customers at all topographical elevations receive a consistent water supply. On all distribution networks there are instances, typically on downhill gradients, where pressure needs to be reduced using pressure reducing valves (PRVs). The micro-turbines are designed to sit upstream of PRVs and turn this lost energy into energy.

The venture, which has the backing of UK Trade & Investment, has prompted the launch of Rentricity Limited -- a new company dedicated to delivering the clean energy potential of the technology to the UK water industry, which has been created by UK support services company Mouchel Parkman and US energy recovery company Rentricity Inc.

"The concept of water mains turbines has been around for a while although the technology which supports it is new and proven," explains George Taylor, managing director of Rentricity Ltd. "It's an extremely exciting development given escalating energy prices and the increasing demands on business and society to devise alternative energy sources. This technology will allow water companies to retrieve and capitalize on a resource that would otherwise be lost to them."

Unlike wind power, the turbines are also contained within chambers that are generally below ground. "In the vast majority of cases there will be little or no aesthetic impact on the surrounding landscape," explains George.

Several leading water companies -- including Anglian Water, Northumbrian Water, Severn Trent Water, Yorkshire Water and United Utilities -- have already expressed a keen interest and a number are currently considering further feasibility work following initial presentations.

"Other organizations -- including British Waterways, the Carbon Trust, and New and Renewable Energy Centre (NaREC) -- have also expressed interest and we believe that the technology can also be transferred to similar sized gas mains," adds George.

Mouchel Parkman is a professional support services group, which helps clients in the public sector and regulated industry to provide better everyday services to customers and communities. Its combination of professional, commercial and technical expertise enables clients to improve their strategy, services, people and asset management. Operations include highways, water, rail, property, housing, education, energy, and management consultancy in a wide range of disciplines. Mouchel Parkman has around 6,950 employees and more than 100 offices in the UK, and a turnover of more than £375m.

Rentricity Inc. is an early-stage Delaware corporation focused on transforming untapped energy in various man-made processes into electricity. To harness this energy, Rentricity will use its patent pending Flow-to-Wire systems. These smart devices consist of a micro-turbine, generator, sensors, processors, electronic controls, and communications equipment that operate autonomously. The company will provide many benefits to its water utility partners and the local community. Integrated sensors will enable Rentricity to offer its RenFlow information services to partners. These services will provide real-time system performance data and assist partners to maximize operational efficiencies and security.

###

Sponsored Recommendations

SmartSights WIN-911 Alarm Notification Software Enables Faster Response

March 15, 2024
Alarm notification software enables faster response for customers, keeping production on track

Automated Fresh Water Treatment

March 15, 2024
SCADA, Automation and Control for Efficient and Compliant Operations

Digital Transformation Enables Smart Water

March 15, 2024
During this webinar we will discuss factors driving the transformation to digital water, water industry trends, followed by a summary of solutions (products & services) available...

Automation for Water Treatment and Distribution Systems

Jan. 31, 2024
Dependable, Flexible Control Solutions to Maximize Productivity