Friday, June 2, 2023

To generate hydroelectric power from water in pipes

Hydropower accounts for approximately 35% of electricity generated from renewable sources, a unique combination of safe, cheap and clean electricity production. The use of this form of green energy is vital in the transition to more sustainable energy production models in order to increase resilience against the effects of global climate change.

However, the potential of hydraulic networks is still not used enough, especially with lower flows, such as pipes, irrigation canals or water streams. In order to use these untapped sources, the Hydro Hidden Power Oscillating across Europe – H-Hope project has been launched, funded by the Horizon Europe programme. The consortium is made up of 13 partners from nine countries, organized by the University of Patavina (Italy), including the Polytechnic University of Catalonia – BarcelonaTech (UPC), through the Barcelona Fluids & Energy Lab (IFLUIDS) research group ) and the Center for Technological Innovation in Static Converters and Drives ( CITCEA).

Specifically, the project aims to develop innovative and sustainable solutions to capture hydraulic energy from existing pipe systems, open streams and irrigation canals. Thus, the market for energy collectors is promoted, which will enable digital networks to implement real-time monitoring, reduce maintenance costs and improve management. As a result, operators of water supply networks and streams can also operate their distribution systems more efficiently, saving energy and costs.

One of the designs of the pipe fitting machine, created by UPC researchers. (Image: UPC)

Innovative solutions for generating hydroelectric power

In the framework of this institute, the project partners will develop three technological devices for the generation of hydroelectric power, adapted to pipes, irrigation canals and open water canals, respectively, and which they will test and validate under conditions expressed in the laboratory.

In this context, the research work of the IFLUIDS group and CITCEA, directed by the researchers Xaverio Escaler and Daniele Montesino, focus on the design of a solution adapted to pipe water applications. It is a machine of about twenty centimeters, which incorporates piezoelectric materials and which, rolling inside the pipe, will generate hydroelectric energy. This force can enable the deployment of various systems, such as IoT (Internet of Things) sensors.

With the technologies developed by UPC researchers, network and river water supply operators will be helped to identify pilot-focused potentials, as well as to collect and analyze the necessary data that will support energy planning, testing and validation.

The ultimate goal of the project is to lay the foundations for designing a technology at a commercial level that allows obtaining a new source of hydroelectric energy. The information obtained with this technology would allow, for example, measuring the quality of irrigation water for crops, managing irrigation, a weather station with sensors to collect various environmental parameters, monitoring biodiversity in the river or developing communities to facilitate their own electricity generation infrastructure. simple and low cost system.

Likewise, the plan will make available an online platform to citizens to facilitate the creation of their own hydroelectric power generation systems.

The project, financed under the Climate, Energy and Mobility of the European Union, will end in October 2026.

Nation World News Desk
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