Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Electricity from water mains: Inline hydropower system generates power from water pipelines

Date:
December 10, 2012
Source:
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Summary:
A novel inline hydropower system generates power from water pipelines. In full operation, an array of in-pipe turbines is expected to save 700kWh of electricity and reduce 560 kg of carbon dioxide emission per year.

Generating electricity from water is not a new thing. Hydro power stations have already sprung up across the world in China, United States and Canada. However, scientists will not stop exploring advanced technologies for further improvement to benefit people's lives.

Recently, PolyU's Department of Building Services Engineering and the Water Supplies Department (WSD) of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government have been working together to turn water mains into an alternative source of power.

Hong Kong has a network of water mains travelling over 7,800 km, which is comprehensively monitored by WSD using monitoring devices to make sure our water supply remain clean and well-maintained. Water mains need power for those devices. Conventionally, they are putting small turbines into our pipes to produce electricity from drinking water.

Our water main pipes present a real challenge. They are just one metre across and hold far less water volume and potential energy compared to giant water dams, say for example. In pushing the boundaries, specialists in hydrodynamics, mechanical engineering and renewable energy have created a highly efficient device in harnessing the power of water. The resulting turbine is small enough to fit into a pipe, and uses just a fraction of hydro-energy to generate about 80 volts, enough to power four compact fluorescent light bulbs.

The novel device consists of an external hydroelectric generator and highly efficient spherical water turbine which dips into flowing water and reclaims residual pressure. When water passes through, the turbine drives a central rotating shaft and a micro generator to produce electricity.

The key lies in a number of intelligent designs to extract more energy from flowing water. The 8-blade turbine would only take away a fraction of kinetic energy because it strikes an accurate balance between water volume, water pressure and consumption of hydrokinetic energy, which boosts efficiency without reducing the momentum of running water to guarantee a reliable water supply. Turbine blades are carefully sized to intersect the largest possible area of water flow and minimise water bypassing.

To achieve maximum power output, a revolutionary design made the central rotating shaft hollow on the inside to minimise energy losses when driving the generator and utilize the harvested energy in full. The team also made the water more energetic and produced a strong current with a special metal block placed at the centre of the pipe to compress and accelerate the water flow. To further protect our drinking water, the turbine does not have moving parts and does not need any lubricant to eliminate the slightest change of contamination.

The mini-hydro power has been put to test in a number of locations including underground pits and outdoor environments. The principal investigator, Prof. Hong-xing Yang from Department of Building Services Engineering commented, "We have made the water pipes self-sufficient." In full operation, an array of in-pipe turbines is expected to save 700kWh of electricity and reduce 560 kg of carbon dioxide emission per year.

It is not only a green innovation to further cut our reliance on coal-based power plants, but also an engineering triumph that gives WSD an easy access to electricity in areas without power grid, such as treacherous terrains and underground. "This technology also points to viable turbine solutions for waters that have little potential for energy generation," added Prof. Yang.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. "Electricity from water mains: Inline hydropower system generates power from water pipelines." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 December 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121210080420.htm>.
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. (2012, December 10). Electricity from water mains: Inline hydropower system generates power from water pipelines. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121210080420.htm
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. "Electricity from water mains: Inline hydropower system generates power from water pipelines." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121210080420.htm (accessed August 29, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Friday, August 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Volcano Erupts on Papua New Guinea

Raw: Volcano Erupts on Papua New Guinea

AP (Aug. 29, 2014) Several communities were evacuated and some international flights were diverted on Friday after one of the most active volcanos in the region erupts. (Aug. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) State health officials say testing has confirmed the presence of a killer amoeba in a water system serving three St. John the Baptist Parish towns. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Have Figured Out Why Rocks Move In Death Valley

Scientists Have Figured Out Why Rocks Move In Death Valley

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) The mystery of the moving rocks in Death Valley, California, has finally been solved. Scientists are pointing to a combo of water, ice and wind. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Big Waves, Minor Flooding from Hurricane

Big Waves, Minor Flooding from Hurricane

AP (Aug. 27, 2014) Thundering surf spawned by Hurricane Marie pounded the Southern California coast Wednesday, causing minor flooding in a low-lying beach town. High surf warnings were posted for Los Angeles County south through Orange County. (Aug. 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins