New micro-hydro turbine developed by University of Southampton (UK) installed in India

Successfully installed in the tailrace of the Tata Power owned 150 megawatt (MW) Bhira hydropower station in Maharashtra

March 07, 2014. By Moulin

A new marine current turbine generator, invented and developed by UK’s University of Southampton, has been successfully installed in the tailrace of the Tata Power owned 150 megawatt (MW) Bhira hydropower station in Maharashtra. The 2.1 metre diameter turbine utilises the existing water flow in the tailrace to generate 10 kilowatt (kW) of additional clean energy, which is fed directly into the 415 volt network.

The project was funded by Camir Group Ltd, which has exclusively licensed the patented technology from the University. The blades of the novel horizontal axis turbine are attached to the outer rotor of a direct drive permanent magnet generator, which saves the complexity and cost of a gearbox. As well as onshore applications in tailraces of existing hydropower plants, rivers and canals, the turbine’s bi-directionality allows it to operate in tidal currents too.

Dr Suleiman Sharkh, Head of the University’s Electro-Mechanical Engineering Research Group who led the project and designed the generator, said: “The pilot’s success is a significant milestone towards the development of a low-cost clean energy solution based on simplicity, functionality and versatility of design. The generator works most effectively in fast-flowing water, and an array of these devices in tidal marine currents and rivers could provide a locally generated and sustainable energy source for riverside and coastal communities, and for the national electricity network.”

Mahesh Paranjpe, Head-Hydros Tata Power, said: “The successful installation and commissioning of the micro hydro turbine is a significant milestone at Bhira. We are happy with this breakthrough.”

The micro turbine generator was customised and indigenously manufactured in Mumbai by Casmir Group. Casmir Group is also studying additional sites which would be conducive for the installation of similar micro hydro sets. Ruta Samant, from Casmir Group, said: “We are grateful for the expertise and invaluable support provided by the University of Southampton and shown by the Tata Power teams during the field trial. Tata Power continues to be at the forefront of clean technology innovation and is clearly committed to sustainable development in the country. We, at Casmir Group, look forward to commercialising this scalable and frugally developed technology to have the maximum possible impact.”

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