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Micro-Hydro in Your Water
Alex Steffen, 22 Nov 03

The micro-hydro news just keeps getting weirder: Bridgeport, Connecticut's water company is launching a project to "transform excess pressure in water pipes into electricity by using a new microturbine technology."

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But doesn't this mean that they're extracting energy that was put into the water by the water company's pumping stations?

And if this takes off, won't they be putting resistance into the water system which will require the pumping stations to do *more* work, consuming more energy? The water system is just acting as an inefficient transmission grid for energy.

Better, I imagine, if there's "excess pressure" would be to put in sensors which could report back to the station to tell it when to reduce pressure.

Posted by: phil jones on 23 Nov 03

The energy being extracted, in this case, is actually the potential energy stored in the water by the evaporation/condensation process which moved the water to a higher altitude. The system is really functioning as small dams - taking advantage of the excess water pressure due to changes in altitude within the piping system.

It's unclear how this affects pumping by the water company.

Posted by: Arun Thomas on 24 Nov 03

Yes, it seems these are acting as "mini-dams", but the placement inside of existing overflow valves (these are the guys that keep the variable street pressure from blowing the faucents off in your house)wouldn't increase the load on the system, rather capturing energy that is currently bled off as waste.

It seems that this would be a better idea inside of gravity drop wastelines or service lines (lines running downhill)

Posted by: Regan Martin on 24 Nov 03

For 200 mW of waterpower, take a look at... or via

Micro water turbine generator converting water flow into 200 mW of electrical power

Reference: pan7007
Country: Netherlands

A Dutch SME produces a micro water turbine generator that converts water flows in the range of 2 -25 litres/minute into 200 mW of electrical power. It can be an alternative power supply in domestic appliances where water is flowing like gas water heaters, faucets, toilets and water meters. This generator is a sustainable energy source, that replaces batteries and also can measure the water flow. They are looking for partners who have products in which the water turbine generator can be used.
The co-operation consists of a joined product development
for implementing the technology in the partners product or the hydrogenerator can be supplied and technical assistance is given when requested.
The SME is looking for an industrial partner that manufactures appliances that could be powered by our water turbine generator.
The water turbine generator is developed by a Dutch SME as a power supply for an instantaneous gas water heater without permanent ignition pilot. It replaces 1.5V batteries. At a low water flow of 2 litres per minute, the water turbine generator has a pressure drop of 200 mBar and generates 100 mW of electrical power. At higher flow rates of 14 litres per minute, the pressure drop raises to 450 mBar and then a power of 200 mW is generated. The micro dimensions (90*66*50mm) make the water turbine generator especially suited for domestic appliances, also the water flow range of 2 till 25 litres per minute is compatible with the normal tap water flow rate. The company has expertise in the field of converting hydraulic energy into electrical energy on a micro scale, so they can develop any other water turbine generator if a partner has an application that requires other specifications from the water turbine generator then our standard product. The water turbine generator is a sustainable energy source, that can replace batteries in all kinds of applications such as water meters, electrical faucets, toilets and gas water heaters. It can also be used as a stand alone water flow measuring device. The water turbine is safe to use in drinking water applications since it is certified according the Greman drinking water regulations (KTW).
Innovative Aspects:
Not many other technologies are to generate electrical power out of standard tap water. This technology is environmentally friendly, very small sized and generates usable energy for electrical products and systems.

Main Advantages:
The water turbine generator is a sustainable energy source that is able to replace batteries. The lifetime of the water turbine generator is more than 15 years and much cheaper than the cost of batteries used during this period.
Electronic Components ; Batteries ; Power Supplies.
The hydrogenerator has been applied in a gas waterheater. As soon as the water tap opens, a turbine generator is accelerated by the water flow. The generated electric energy is used for the ignition of the burner and the functioning of the gas valve.

Best regards,


o2 Global Network
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XStern- van Hattum - Sustainable Design/Innovation & Technology Transfer
Ernst-Jan M. van Hattum, M.Sc.Eng. Industrial Design (TU Delft)
Stallikerstr. 24, CH-8906 Bonstetten , Switzerland
Tel.: +41-(0)43 466 00 85
SusProNet, the first EU funded Thematic Network on
development of sustainable product-service systems ! SusProNet is active
between 2002 and end 2004. Get involved in our activities, join our expert
database, or subscribe to our newsletter via

Posted by: Ernst-Jan van Hattum on 26 Nov 03

This concept violates the second law of thermal dynamics. While I can see applications for power conversion to support small electronic circuits off of pump discharges, the energy being extracted was provided by the original pumping primary driver. As a means of renewable energy, this is a hoax. An example of where this concept is applicable would be to power copper ionization units off a swimming poolÂ’s filter/recirculation pump discharge. In this way, the pool copper ionization unit would not need special power conversion kits/transformers to adapt to the various voltage and frequencies of different countrysÂ’ power grids.

Posted by: Master Chief on 11 Apr 04



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