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Pumps used as turbines under variable hydraulic conditions

By 29/06/2018 No Comments

Tecnoturbines has developed patented technology that allows us to optimise costs and improve electrical efficiency by up to 80%.

The use of pumps as water turbines (PATs) provides ample opportunities for generating electricity, whether for sale to the power network or for supplying isolated areas off the grid. As an alternative to conventional turbines, PATs are more flexible and cost-efficient, making use of the extensive pump networks established in countries around the world decades ago.

What are PATs and how do they work?

Pump rotation works in an inverse fashion to turbine rotation, with pumps consuming electricity from the power network and using an internal mechanism to transfer it into water to eject it at a higher pressure. PATs, on the other hand, harness the hydraulic energy from the water by means of an inverse rotation mechanism, converting it into electricity.

One of the main advantages of using PATs instead of conventional turbines is the cost-efficient harnessing of  the pumps’ mass production and the provision of a wide range of hydraulic solutions, with their use extensive in most countries. This also makes it easy to find replacement parts and models which may be adapted to the requirements of different installations.

Pumps as conventional turbines do, however, come with one limitation: the process for generating electricity is only efficient when conditions are consistent, meaning that any fluctuations involve wasted potential.

Source: Bombas utilizadas como turbinas. Ing. Orlando H. Audisio

Where does Tecnoturbines’ innovative solution come in?

Tecnoturbines has patented its own technology for improving electricity output under variable conditions of pressure and flow by means of an electronic system developed to control turbine speed. Such a system is more efficient and flexible than traditional PATs, optimising energy efficiency and production. The electricity produced may beinjected into the power network or used to supply locations off the power grid.

Advantages of variable speed PATs

Due to their market size, ample tests have been conducted on pumps and finding replacement parts is normally straightforward. Maintenance is also simple, with the cost of acquisition, installation and production lower. Thanks to the technology developed by Tecnoturbines, such advantages are accompanied by the following benefits:

Power generation under variable hydraulic conditions

Tecnoturbines’ solutions are suitable for a wide variety of heights and flows commonly found in water supply networks. This means that the turbines continue to generate electricity regardless of the hydraulic conditions.

Greater efficiency and operating range

Our system allows us to boost PATs to their optimal operating point, reaching a total efficiency of 70 to 80% throughout at least half of the operating range. The system also increases the nominal operating range by 20% compared to conventional PATs, meaning more energy is produced for the same installation.

Greater output

The combination of these two advantages increases the power output. By generating energy under variable hydraulic conditions, we can produce electricity for longer periods and regain a greater hydraulic potential. The increase in the operating range also allows us to generate energy for more hours a day, making the supply more stable and reliable.

The following table demonstrates the efficiency curve for variable speed PATs at almost 80%, even for flows exceeding 30 litres per second:

Where can Tecnoturbines’ technology be used?

Tecnoturbines’ PATs can be used across a wide range of installations and may be adapted to a variety of contexts that our team of engineers studies on a case-by-case basis. The most common are, however:

  • Turbines for irrigation systems
  • Turbines for water tanks
  • Turbines for reservoirs
  • Turbines for irrigation communities
  • Turbines for drinking water or wastewater collection systems
  • Turbines for agricultural properties
  • Turbines for industrial installations
  • Turbines for rural areas
  • Turbines for water pipes
  • Turbines for producing electricity in rural areas

Want more information on our patented technology for optimising energy output and cost efficiency?

Get in touch and discover an innovative means of producing clean energy with maximum efficiency.