Low Head Hydro Power Plant
Бельгийский стартап
The company Turbulent, founded in 2012 in Belgium, is launching mass production of hydro power plants able to generate electricity on a river or a water channel with the height difference of one to five meters. A hydropower unit with the capacity of 15 to 70 kilowatts (kW) is able to annually generate 120,000 to 560,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity, which is enough for the supply of 50 to 500 private households.

Photo sourced from: https://www.turbulent.be/

A hydro power plant operates by diverting water into a bypass channel through, which it enters a turbine and then returns to the mainstream. The main element of the turbine is a mechanical impeller, which rotates with a flow, creating a low-pressure vortex. The kinetic energy generated by the impeller rotation is transferred to an electric core. The gearbox inside the core of the turbine transmits its power to the generator where the power converts into electricity. To maximise performance, the pitch of the turbine blades can be adjusted to the force of the water flow. The hydro power plant also includes a flow control lock, a protective mesh for filtering the incoming water and a basket for collecting underwater debris.

The Turbulent hydro power plant can be used both in a general grid and in an island mode (for power provision of remote areas). The company’s development has already found its application in five countries. In France, such a plant supplies electricity to a wastewater treatment plant. In Estonia, it provides with electricity the private households in the city of Otepää. On the island of Bali, such a hydro plant powers the campus for schoolchildren and students studying sustainability issues. In Chile, it supplies electricity to a poultry farm. In Portugal, such a plant operates in the Vale das Lobas resort reserve.

Seven new plants with the total capacity of just over 520 kW are currently under construction. In the UK, the Turbulent’s development will be used for energy supply to the Denver electric stations. In Congo, such a plant will be used together with power generators at the local agricultural enterprises. In the Philippines, it will supply electricity to the villages on the island of Mandanao.

Turbulent’s project will promote development of small hydro power plants (HPPs) isolated from a general grid. The global installed capacity of such plants almost tripled between 2011 and 2020. (from 627 to 1,740 megawatts according to the data of International Renewable Energy Agency). Asia (1,283 MW) and Africa (227 MW) accounted for over 80% of the capacity of small isolated hydro power plants.


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March 2022