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The "Smart Water Turbine": Creating the innovative value using hydro energy

Graduate School of Engineering / Nagasaki University
Myanmar
Compact yet high-output portable power supply requiring no installation work

Background

Why hydropower?
Hydropower is one of the fundamental energy resources capable of supporting a sustainable society. However, until now, it has not shown its full potential.
The total length of agricultural irrigation canals in Japan is about 400,000 km (or 10 laps of the earth), and its annual stored water volume is said to be about 118 GWh (for 32,778 households). Agriculture is also thriving in the ASEAN countries, who have their own hydropower resources. The Smart Water Turbine is a technology developed to recover energy from sources such as agricultural waterways and apply it to smart agriculture using the power saving devices (Fig. 1, Fig. 2).
Where is the demand?
Hydropower with an output of less than 100 kW is referred to as “Micro Hydropower”. Such power generation technology was developed for the power sales business using the FIT (Feed-in Tarif) system. Many countries have similar policy to promote distributed energy system.
However, conventional Micro Hydropower generators cannot be directly applied to smart agriculture as they are not compatible with the hydro energy of agricultural waterway. Smart Water Turbines, on the other hand, can recover unused energy from agricultural waterways and provide stable power even in remote areas such as mountain communities.
How will lives improve?
The unique benefit of the Smart Water Turbine is the capacity to supply its own stable small power to the power saving devices. When the power is used for network cameras, temperature sensors, motor etc. in smart agriculture, it is important to support small local digital infrastructure with no maintenance work (Fig. 3). The compact and high-output Smart Water Turbine requires no installation work, and can be used by anyone anywhere generating hydroelectric power.

Summary

Technology overview
Smart Water Turbine features an innovative impeller that can recover the kinetic energy of flow in little head such a river flow with high efficiency (Fig. 4). With this technology, the energy recovery rate in the high speed range is approximately twice as high as that of conventional turbines. In addition, the power transmission mechanism of the Smart Water Turbine is simplified by the high-speed rotation characteristics, which greatly contributes to weight reduction of the equipment.
Advantages over similar technologies
Among the renewable energy devices, hydropower generation can have overwhelmingly high energy recovery rate at 70% while 12% for solar power generation facilities or 20% for wind power generation. When compared at the same scale, the drag type Smart Water Turbine has better initial dynamic characteristics than lift type turbines such as the Darrieus turbine and the propeller turbine, and can reliably generate power even in shallow channels with low flow rates.

Next stage

Users and applications
We hope that young agricultural workers interested in technological innovation will develop smart agricultural applications that meet their needs. In the future, many Smart Water Turbines will be placed in plain and mountain areas with no power supplies in order to collect information for applications including natural disaster forecasting. Smart water turbine will be developed as information terminals, and they will provide information to local governments, river bureaus, meteorological bureaus and others (Fig. 5).
Implementation
The first-generation Smart Water Turbine will be completed by 2023 (Fig. 6, Fig. 7).
We welcome the participation of partners to accelerate practical implementation.

Photos

  • Fig. 1 Shrink model of the Smart Water Turbine.
  • Fig. 2 Water tunnel test of the Smart Water Turbine.
  • Fig. 3 Application of the Smart Water Turbine.
  • Fig. 4 Principal on fluid mechanics of the Smart Water Turbine.
  • Fig. 5 Traction of the Smart Water Turbine.
  • Fig. 6 Prototype the Smart Water Turbine.
  • Fig. 7 Field experiment of the Smart Water Turbine.

Company Data/ Institution Data

Company / Institution Name
Nagasaki University
Address
1-14 Bunkyo, Nagasaki, 852-8521, Japan
The Type of business
Education and Research
Establishment
May 1949

Contact

Contact person
Soichi Sasaki (Ph.D., Assistant Professor)
Telephone
+81-95-819-2517
FAX
+81-95-819-2534
Web
http://www.eng.nagasaki-u.ac.jp/english/index.html
Mail
souichi@nagasaki-u.ac.jp

Related Seeds

  • Why hydropower?
    Hydropower is one of the fundamental energy resources capable of supporting a sustainable society. However, until now, it has not shown its full potential.
    The total length of agricultural irrigation canals in Japan is about 400,000 km (or 10 laps of the earth), and its annual stored water volume is said to be about 118 GWh (for 32,778 households). Agriculture is also thriving in the ASEAN countries, who have their own hydropower resources. The Smart Water Turbine is a technology developed to recover energy from sources such as agricultural waterways and apply it to smart agriculture using the power saving devices (Fig. 1, Fig. 2).