DOI: 10.3390/w15152807 ISSN: 2073-4441

HYPER: Computer-Assisted Optimal Pump-as-Turbine (PAT) Selection for Microhydropower Generation and Pressure Regulation in a Water Distribution Network (WDN)

Gustavo Marini, Francesco Di Menna, Marco Maio, Nicola Fontana
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Aquatic Science
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Biochemistry

Although pressure reducing valves (PRVs) have traditionally been employed to regulate pressure and reducer water leakage, researchers have been increasingly investigating the strategy of micro-hydropower generation using pumps as turbines (PATs) to enable both pressure reduction and energy production as an alternative strategy in water distribution networks (WDNs). However, due to the continuous variability of flow discharge during the day, selecting the optimal PAT remains a challenging issue. To address this, the authors have developed HYPER, a freely available software app that implements an innovative approach for selecting the most suitable PAT in systems that involve both hydraulic and/or electrical regulation. In enabling the identification of the PAT parameters that maximize energy production, HYPER thus provides a fast and effective PAT selection tool. The effectiveness of the proposed approach was further demonstrated with application to a real WDN. Four operational patterns varying in terms of available flow and head drop were considered, showing that the most efficient pumps consistently tended to be located in close proximity to the maximum produced energy. Furthermore, the results confirmed that hydraulic regulation and coupled hydraulic/electric regulation-based installation layouts represent the best solutions in terms of energy produced. The solely electrical regulation option, given its poor flexibility, returns in all cases lower energy production with the lower adaptability of commercial pumps.

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