FAQ

1.- How do we get electricity from water?
This is called hydroelectric power or hydropower. The most common type of hydroelectric power plant uses a dam on a river to store water in a reservoir. Water released from the reservoir flows through a turbine, spinning it, which in turn activates a generator to produce electricity.

But now, thanks to our small water turbines based on PATs (Pumps as Turbines) it is also possible to generate electricity from a small flow (2 litres/second minimum).

2.- How can water be used to generate electricity at home?
If you have water on your property from a small river, lake, etc., you can produce electricity for your home.

You only need to install a pipe and connect it to the turbine, that has to be located at a lower site in order to make the water arrive with certain pressure.

It is recommended at least 10 meters of head drop. The higher you can get, the more energy the turbine will generate.

3.- Is there a generator that runs on water?
Our turbines are compact and can power your home. You only need a pipe (around 2 inch diameter) and pressure (at least 10 meters of head drop).

If you can perform this simple installation, our turbines can charge a battery bank and power your home. To do that it is necessary to install an off-grid inverter to get the energy from the batteries and transform it in to usable electricity (220V or 110V) for your home.

4.- How much power does a water turbine generate?
It depends on the flow and head you can obtain. The minimum flow we need to produce energy is 2 litres/second and the minimum head is 10 meters.

The more head and flow you can get, the more power the turbine will generate.

For example, a turbine working with 9 litres/second and 16 meters of head will generate 750 watt of electric power continuously to the batteries. More than enough to supply a house

Please send us an email with the head and the water you can get and we will calculate the generated power.

5.- How much water is needed to power a house?
The minimum flow to work is 2 liters/second continuosly, which means a daily volume of around 180 cubic meters (47.500 US gallons per day).

6.- How much is a water generator?
The price for a small turbine for battery charging and power a home is around 2.000€.

The price for bigger grid-tied turbines depends on the power. If you need a quotation for your specific project, please send us an email with the flow and head available in your installation.

7.- Can hydropower be used in homes and businesses?
Yes, our small turbines can power homes or business. You only need get water in an upper level and channel it to the turbine through a pressurized pipe (at least 10 meters head is recommended).

Our turbines can work charging batteries (in case of no grid access) or connected directly to the grid for self-consumption or energy selling.

The battery charging turbines can produce up to 4kw of continuous power that will be stored for later use. The grid tied turbines can go up to 25kw and they work without batteries since they are connected directly to the grid.

8.- How does water turn a turbine?
The force of falling water pushing against the turbine impeller blades causes it to spin. A water turbine is much like a windmill, except the energy is provided by falling water instead of wind. The turbine converts the kinetic energy of falling water into mechanical rotational energy in a shaft. The turbine shaft is attached to the generator shaft to produce energy.

For this reason, the water as it passes through the turbine loses the pressure it had initially. So a water turbine always causes a pressure drop on the water flow.

9.- How do you make a water turbine?
Our water turbines are very simple since they are PATs (Pumps used as turbines). What we do is to use an standard pump of the market (we work with the pump manufacturer KSB) in reverse mode, in order to make it work as a turbine.

The main advantage is that you are purchasing an standard equipment with a very low maintenance and high availability of spare parts in virtually any part of the world.

To complete the system, we add a permanent magnet generator and an electric box. In case of battery charging turbines the electric box include a battery charge controller and in case of a grid tied turbine it includes a grid inverter.

So our turbines are delivered as a kit easily mounted by our clients.

10.- How can I make a homemade turbine?
The most easy way is using a pump at reverse mode, that is a PAT (pump used as turbine).

The key question is which pump you have to use in order to fit the flow and head you have on your installation. And then decide which electrical equipment you have to install depending on the use of the energy: battery charging or grid tied applications.

In Powertubrines we have made this work for you. Just tell us your flow and head and we will offer you the best turbine kit.

11.- Is a turbine a pump?
When used as a turbine, the rotor moves in the opposite direction, or in reverse, as to when it is operating as a pump. In this manner, it allows the motor to generate electrical power.

12.- What is the efficiency of the turbines?
Since we use PATs (pumps as turbines) we have observed that the efficiency in turbine mode is very similar to the efficiency in pump mode.

Therefore, as in the case of pumps, the lower the working flow of the machine, the lower the efficiency.

In small turbines (2 litres/second) the efficiency is around 50%. In turbines with flows higher than 15 litres/second the efficiency can go up to 75-80%.

13.- Where can a turbine be installed?
In any place with a pressure drop and a circulating flow, for example:

  • In a water tank with pressure break in the inlet pipe.
  • Along a pipeline that get water on a high area and discharges it in a lower point.
  • In parallel with a PRV (pressure reducing valve).
  • In parallel with a valve partially closed that cause a pressure drop.
  • At the river dam

14.- Which turbine model is the most appropriate?
The model depends on the flow and the pressure drop available in the installation. Please fill the contact form with this information (or send us an email to info@powerturbines.eu) and we will send you a proposal indicating the turbine model.

15.- How many power can generate the turbine?

The power depends on the flow and pressure existing in your installation. Through the graphs included in the technical datasheets you can obtain an estimation of the power that could be generated.

For example, with a 12 liters/second of flow and a pressure drop of 15 meters, according to the graph, the power generated is approximately 1000W:

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16.- Which is the minimum flow and pressure drop to operate?
Related to the flow, we have turbine models to work from 1,5 liters/second. Related to the pressure drop, in general the turbines needs at least 10 meters but certain models can work from 4 meters.

17.- Which is the warranty?
The warranty is two years subject to proper use as specified in the manuals and installation guides supplied with the equipment.

18.- Which is the payback?
The payback basically depends on the operating hours along the year and the use of the energy (self-consumption or salling). Generally, self-consumption installations have shorter payback (around 3 years) because the purchase price of energy is always higher than the selling price.

19.- Powerturbines can perform the installation works?
The turbine is supplied as a kit and the installation must be carried out by the customer. However, from Powerturbines we provide direct assessment during the installation process and if necessary, a start-up service on site.

20.- Which is the maintenance?
Maintenance is exactly the same than a conventional pump and consists basically in replace the generator bearings (approximately every 10 years) and the mechanical seal (approximately every 5 years). Both elements are standard and can be easily found in the local market. The replacement can be carried out by any specialized pump repairment workshop. Additionaly we can supply the parts directly too.

21.- Can the turbine replace a PRV (Pressure Reducing Valve)?
No, but it can work in parallel with the PRV recovering a part of the energy potential. To study this cases and select the most appropriate turbine model, it is necessary to know the flow rates and the pressure drop variation in the PRV.

22.- Are the turbines compatible with drinking water?
Our turbines are PATs (pumps used as turbines) and all materials in contact with water are compatible for use in drinking water supply networks. The Line HP type turbines, made of stainless steel, have the WRAS and the ACS certification. The Monobloc and Line type turbines are typically made of cast iron but can be supplied with other materials (bronze or stainless steel) upon request. Optionally, we can supply the ACS certificate for these models.

23.- Can several turbines operate in parallel?
Yes, if only one turbine cannot process all the available flow, the solution is to install several units working on parallel. In case the flow would be lower in certain moments, you can deactivate one or more turbines to perform the operation.

24.- How operate a battery charging turbine?
The Microbat or Microbat XL series turbines are supplied with a control panel that incorporates a battery charge regulator whose mission is to avoid overcharging the batteries even with the turbine turning. Optionally we can supply an automatic valve that cuts the water flow once the battery is fully charged. With this solution the turbine will operate only in case the battery needs energy, reducing significantly the operating hours.

25.- Can the turbines for battery charging also work with solar panels?
Yes, our turbines are compatible with other energy sources such as solar panels or wind generators and can work together charging the same battery bank.

26.- Can the turbines for battery charging also work with a grid connection?
Yes, under demand we can perform hybrid installations where the main energy source to charge the batteries would be the turbine and the grid connection will be used as a secondary source. Additionally, if the battery is fully charged and there is a energy surplus from the turbine, it can be exported to the grid.

27.- How operate the grid tied turbines?
In a grid tied turbine the connection and synchronization with the electrical network is carried out by a grid inverter. The turbine equipment includes a braking resistor whose mission is to dissipate the energy in form of heat only in the event of a power grid failure. Additionally, we also supply an automatic valve for automatic closing in case of grid failure, so the braking resistor only works during the valve closing time.

28.- It is necessary to legalize the installation?
It depends on your country legislation but in general, the turbines for charging batteries do not require any legal procedure to put them into operation. Grid-connected turbines usually require a legalization process where certain information must be provided to the electricity company in order to authorize the connection. From Powerturbines we provide all the documents and information necessary for the legalization process, specifically the grid inverter certification with the protections usually required by the electricity companies (anti-island operation, voltage limits, frequency limits, safe reconnection time, etc.).

29.- The turbines can be monitored remotely?
Yes, there are two ways. The first option is using the modbus communication line of the inverter and read all the operation parameters with an external device (for example a PLC) and integrate them in your own monitoring platform. The second option is to provide an internet connection to the grid inverter (for example using a GPRS router if there is not internet connection on site) and use the inverter manufacturer platform to see the operation parameters remotely from a PC or smartphone.

30.- The turbine bypass is mandatory?
The bypass is not necessary for the turbine operation, but is highly recommended in case of turbine maintenance, in order to make the water flow. Anyway, if in your installation you can stop the water flow in case of turbine maintenance, the bypass is not necessary.

 

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