The LifeHygenet project aims to educate municipalities on the need to take advantage of the energy contained in the water distribution and supply networks to generate electricity, a resource that is not currently being used.
Thus, due to the high existing unevenness between the reservoir’s catchment and storage tank, it is necessary the existence of a device capable to reduce the pressure in the pipe to prevent breakages, so that the fluid pressure equals the atmospheric one. The potential and kinetic energy dissipated in many places is not exploited, on numerous occasions because of the high costs of civil works and supply cuts associated with it.
The main innovation associated with this project is to take advantage of kinetic energy and water potential from a supply network through a prefabricated modular system, which minimizes the costs of transport and assembly, the associated civil works and the cuts in water services during its installation, ensuring at all the times the supply and safety of the network.
In the protected system, high pressure water enters through the pipe 1 and can run through two channels. Thus, in normal operation, the water flows into the turbine 5 which transforms the water hydraulic power into kinetic energy, which in turn, the electric generator 8 transforms into electricity. As a result, the water goes out at low pressure into the chest of the existing break tank to continue its journey towards the points of consumption through piping 7. On the contrary, in case of emergency stop of the turbine, maintenance or any other circumstances, the water entering through the pipe moves to branch 2A to the existing previously device of pressure reduction, making the traditional route and ensuring with it the supply security during the time required for its reparation or maintenance.
The system can be optimal for countless sites with varied heights and flows where, depending on the relationship between the flow rate and height, it may generate a bigger or smaller quantity of electricity, doing shorter the process of products amortization.
The system incorporates a metal structure that contains a small hydro turbine and electric generator, allowing mounting all the equipment in the factory. In this way, the structure with all the elements would be transported to the exactly location fully assembled with the only need of connecting it to the water supply. This assembly system in the plant is one of the main novelty aspects of the project as it would minimize the necessary civil works and the costs and time associated with the assembly work.