Concept & Approach

Water is one of the basic and essential human needs for almost all economic activities. The water management sector is facing global challenges that require multi-sector solutions. It is estimated that by 2035, global energy consumption will increase by 35%, and if water use does not become more efficient, the real consumption of water for the power sector could increase by 85%.

Small hydro energy plays a key role in power generation worldwide, but installing conventional turbines at a micro level is currently not very attractive because of the large initial investment, the low efficiency and the hydraulic variability present at most of the potential locations at which micro turbines could be installed. The project HYDRO LOW HEAD comes to solve these limitations in order to exploit the great potential of micro hydraulics in the world.

The HYDRO LOW HEAD turbine presents an innovative regenerative variable speed control system that works at a variable speed to produce as much energy as possible.

  • The installation time is between 1 and 2 months, reducing civil works by 35%.

  • The pay back for the final clients is between 2 and 4 years, depending on the power and working times.

The final product will be capable of generating the maximum amount of electricity with an overall efficiency of 80%, capable of absorbing variability in the hydraulic conditions. A pilot plant will be manufactured and installed as a demonstrator for our customers worldwide.

The HYDRO LOW HEAD turbine to be developed in this project comes from the synergy of two enterprises:

SENDEKIA and TECNOTURBINES in order to achieve a new device that will break through the current technical barriers upon the small hydropower sector.

This machine consists of an axis turbine shaft, developed by SENDEKIA and a variable speed regenerative breaking control system, developed by TECNOTURBINES.

Although hydropower is a mature technology compared to other renewable energy sources, it still has a significant potential for growth and improvement. New plants need to be developed and old ones upgraded, especially in order to increase efficiency and electricity production for this type of renewable energy to be profitable and competitive.

Most Small Hydropower Plants (SHP) are experiencing serious difficulties maintaining a minimum level of profitability. This is due to several reasons, ranging from the variability of hydraulic conditions, which affect the overall efficiency of the machine, the adaptation to the climate change in form of higher ecological flows and the penalties they pay for the production (related to quality of the energy they send to the grid). Up to now, economically speaking, SHP have not been a very profitable business. This is why producers ask for incentives from public parties. This affects the development of this energy production despite the initial favorable prospects and the vast amount of potential sites.

Irrigation communities face a similar problem. Their profitability is very low or even negative and increasing water prices and limitations in stream flow pumping may compromise their results. Taking advantage of their hydraulic resources by installing micro or SHP may help them to increase their profitability.

Objectives

The commercial development of a low head (less than 10m head pressure) micro-turbine solution that works in variable speed to produce as much energy as possible under variable conditions, which occurs frequently in rivers, channels, spillways, irrigation systems, treatment plants, etc.

With this solution we strive to help SHP and irrigation communities become profitable. Firstly, by reducing by a significant percentage the equipment costs, typically representing 35% of the total costs. Secondly, by ensuring a low OPEX, thanks to the low maintenance required and the ease availability of the parts in the market.