I thought we might look at some small scale Hydro Power Plants using the Vortex principles. This has many advantages only including requiring a low head and no dam.
1 Hydro power plant built in an off-grid community in Peru
The Kadagaya Project is investigating the transition to a new social system called a resource-based economy (RBE). They are building a self-sufficient community in the jungle of Peru to demonstrate and evaluate the enabling technologies that will allow us to provide the basic needs of clean water, renewable energy, optimized nutrition, holistic education, sustainable housing and more. More information can be found on our website www.kadagaya.org.
This video briefly introduces the gravitational vortex hydroelectric plant built by the Kadagaya community. Some features and advantages of this relatively new technology are as follows:
• suitable for rivers with low head (1-5 m) and high flow
• does not require a large dam to be built
• has positive effects of the local ecosystem (aerating the water and allowing fish to flow in both directions)
• simple design with low investment and maintenance requirements
• can be constructed with manual labour and materials and technology available in developing countries
• a feasible clean energy solution for off-grid communities
The construction of the hydro plant took around 1.5 years. A large part of this time was spent excavating the channels and tank. This was done manually as the site was not accessible by machinery and we encountered many large river boulders and seasonal flooding that slowed work down.
A small dam and dyke were constructed on the edge of the river to feed the inlet channel. The entire hydroelectric plant is located inland to avoid problems with flooding during the wet season. An inlet gate controls the level of water (and hence the energy generated). An overflow channel just before the tank protects the electric system from flooding.
The spiral shape of the tank is optimised to achieve a strong vortex in the centre of the rotation tank. The water exits the tank through a small hole at the base of the vortex and flows out the exit channel, back into the river.
A vertical axis turbine sits within the core of the vortex. The axis of the turbine is attached to a gearbox that accelerates the slow rotation of the turbine into higher revolutions required by the generator. The generator (alternator) converts the rotational energy into electricity. We are using a 10 kW 3-phase (380 V) AC generator that generates around 7.5 kW. The voltage is regulated using control circuits and the electricity is carried via cables over a distance of 500 m to the house.
They plan to share our knowledge and experience of this project in more detail in the future (including technical and financial details). In the meantime, please contact us by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or leave a comment here with any questions.
2 Water Vortex Power Plant in Switzerland
This special water vortex power plant that bears the name of well known inventor, Bertrand Piccard.
Bertrand Piccard has already made a name for himself as the man who flew the first non-stop round-the-world balloon flight. He’s also the man who invented the Solar Impulse — an airplane that runs only on solar energy. And now he’s promoting a new kind of water energy system in Schöftland, Switzerland. “With new technology we can produce much cleaner energy and be much more sustainable.
Piccard agreed to be the patron for this first-of-its-kind water vortex power plant in Switzerland. The plant, which now carries Piccard’s name, might take power generation to a new level. “The project that is here, that is integrated here is a turbine in a little river producing electricity on a cheap basis and in a very clean way.”
This pilot project basin is 21 feet wide and has a level difference of five feet. Depending on the amount of water, it can produce between 10 and 15 kilowatts of energy. That’s enough energy for 20-25 Swiss households. “A lot of people believe that we need more innovation and more development before being able to produce clean energy. This is not true.”
So far, 25 countries have expressed interest in building water vortex power plants and are ready to invest in this new water energy. Ecuador is one of them.
Rafael Paredes, Ambassador of Ecuador in Switzerland:
“We have the geographic characteristics to be easy to have this kind of machines and this kind of technology to use in our country.”
To build a water vortex power plant in a river, the land must have a downward slope of at least 2.3 feet and the water must flow at a minimum rate of 265 gallons per second.
The inventors have decided to build the water vortex power plant only in rivers that need to be re-naturalized so that they can guarantee maximum benefit to the environment. They also ensure that fish can pass the water power plant without being harmed, either up or downstream.
3 TARAI water vortex power
Not much info on this one . LENS Co., Ltd, are a company to suggest the benefit for using natural energy.
They are going to introduce the TARAI water vortex power plant that can generate power/energy from not only river water but also drainage. They can provide several sizes of basin called TARAI for suitable amount of water with sites such as 30 litter/sec to 2,000 litter/sec. It means that they should produce 30W to around 20kW in electric power.
4 Development and Testing of Runner and Conical Basin for Gravitational Water Vortex Power Plant
The Terai region in Nepal has water resources with very low head and medium to high discharge conditions. Hence, the people of the Terai region are not being able to utilize the water resources available near them due to the limitation of technology. This study is intended to serve the purpose of further research of ultra-low head gravitational water vortex turbines useful for power generation in the Terai region.
Gravitational water vortex turbine is an ultra-low head turbine which can operate in as low head as 0.7m with similar yield as conventional hydroelectric turbines characterized with positive environmental yield. This study has been carried out in two phases. In the first phase, two different turbines are to designed and fabricated and the performance characteristics of the new turbine are to be compared with that of the installed turbine. The second phase includes the design and fabrication of the conical basin. Experimental tests will be carried out and the performance of the system with the use of a conical basin will compared with that of the system using the cylindrical basin. A site testing also has been carried out to ensure the performance of system.
Journal of the Institute of Engineering, Vol. 10, No. 1, 2014, pp. 140–148