Pico-Hydro Turbine Design

This project has been outsourced to WERL by a Toronto-based company  who is currently developing innovative inline systems for water disinfection. The company is focusing on two potential markets for their technology; swimming pool treatment (reducing the amount of harmful chemicals a user must manually put in their pool) and small scale drinking water disinfection. The systems use electrochemical processes appropriate for each disinfection application. Each system has their own unique operating requirements in terms of power, pressure, and flow rates. One innovative aspect of their technology is the ability to easily setup a system without the need to run electrical power and control lines. This aspect allows the technology to be well matched as a solution for improving drinking water access in communities that lack reliable power sources.

There are very few pico-hydro systems reported to operate within the range necessary to provide power for this application. However, based on established hydro turbine configurations, reaction turbines tend to provide the best performance in this range. The current configuration employed by the company is of this type; however the device is presently unable to draw the power necessary for the application.

This project focuses on the design of a pico-hydro turbine capable of meeting the requirements for the pool water disinfection system and the development of a systematic process which can also be applied to drinking water application.

Research Objectives:

The goal of this research is to develop a pico-hydro turbine capable of powering an in-line electrochemical water disinfection system for a variety of input flow conditions. The following research objectives will be used to accomplish this goal:

i. Develop a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model to evaluate the performance of different turbine configurations and select an optimal configuration for the system.
ii. Analyze and select a suitable low cost electrical generator for the application.
iii. Experimentally test the selected turbine configuration to measure the conformity of these results to those predicted by the CFD analysis and to refine the optimal configuration.