Renewable energies: Design and Testing Zero-head Micro hydro turbine,Solar/Hydrogen fuel cell testing

Regions: Inuvialuit Settlement Region, Gwich'in Settlement Area

Tags: renewable energy, engineering, hydro-electric

Principal Investigator: Mutua, Daniel (1)
Licence Number: 14738
Organization: Private
Licenced Year(s): 2010
Issued: Jun 10, 2010
Project Team: NA

Objective(s): To design and test zero-head hydro-electric turbines under low flow, i.e. less than 1 m/sec velocity, for the purpose of utilizing locally available renewable hydro resources and to evaluate the feasibility of a NWT-based commercial venture to manufacture and sell these turbines, and/or integrated energy systems.

Project Description: Objectives are to:
1. Design and test zero-head hydro-electric turbines under low flow, i.e. less than 1 m/sec velocity, for the purpose of utilizing locally available renewable hydro resources;
2. Solar/Hydrogen fuel cell testing;
3. Evaluate the feasibility of an NWT-based commercial venture to manufacture and sell these turbines, and/or integrated energy systems.

In rivers where there are no waterfalls (head), special turbines which can be turned directly by the water flow are used to produce electricity. Such turbines are called Zero-Head Hyro-Electric Turbines. Pulleys and gears will be used to transfer hydro energy from the turbines and into the electrical motors. Data will be captured and stored for instantaneous analyzes.

Equipment design parameters consideration:
The intent is to design and test modular scalable vertical and horizontal batteries of zero-head hydro-turbines (ZHT) of varied configuration. This ZHT will capitalize on the concept of cumulative effect of angular momentum transfer as well as the laws of physics which exploits energy conservation and mass transfer. The anticipated water disturbance zone (DZ) may range from 0.5 – 125m3 in any testing site in the Mackenzie River east channel. The DZ will depend on the scope and scale of model to be tested. We note that since the river flow-power is the driving force, the generated turbidity (disturbance) will always remain below the river’s natural turbulence, because water driven turbines are in effect obstacles consuming water energy (as opposed to outboard motor which creates and injects energy into the water stream system). The test site will receive fewer disturbances than those cause by regular outboard motor boats which currently travel through this area.

The water-flow velocity at the East channel of Mackenzie River at Inuvik will be determined using existing Environment Canada velocity at the gauge data base. Extra measurements will be taken to fill in the knowledge gaps where necessary. The testing site for installing the Zero-Head Hydro-Electric Turbine (ZHET) will be determined from the Water-flow velocity profile, which will be empirically determined to suite the ZHET design operational parameters. For short tests runs lasting for less than a day, the ZHET will be mounted on the boat and transported to the testing location, whereas for longer testing periods, the ZHET will be mounted on floating pontoons and safely anchored and remotely monitored by radio where necessary. A 12-220V AC/DC motor will be mounted on the boat and securely connected to the Zero-Head Hyro-Electric Turbine axle. The depth of the Zero-Head Hydro-Electric Turbine will be varied on each testing site. The variation of the generated power will be measured and plotted against depth as well as water flow velocity. Scaling up models for commercial use will be designed and computer-simulated before models are fabricated.

Integration with fuel cell technology:
SOLAR/HYDROGEN FUEL CELL
Photo Voltaic (PV) will be designed (chosen) to power basic domestic equipment like a freezer, TV, Computer etc. Power generation, consumption and variation throughout the year will be analyzed. Performance of different PV cells of the same powerage kVa will be monitored to determine which type will perform well in cold climate. Hydrogen fuel cell (HFC) will be used to generate electricity year round. From the empirical measurements, the size of HFC capable of generating 3-5kVa will be determined. Wind & Water turbine/PV solar panel will be used to generate hydrogen through hydrolysis and store it for use during winter months when there is no sunshine.

A plain language summary will be distributed to local community organizations. The Researcher is open to conducting public meetings or presentations. Local media may be contacted. Research result papers and posters will be produced. A website will be constructed to display data.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from July 1, 2010 to December 31, 2010.