The SMART turbine is developed to produce up to a maximum of 5000 watts electrical power from the kinetic energy of flowing waters. As the turbine is powered by kinetic energy and not with potential energy, it is also known as a “zero-head” or “in-stream” turbine. As such, no dams are necessary for the operation of this device. The course of a river remains unchanged and no large investments in infrastructure are required. The product operates on a low-cost per kilowatt basis making it not only ideal for industrialized countries, but for decentralized electrification in emerging countries. To tackle specific problems of decentralized electrification the product comes with an intelligent electrical management system allowing a simple and efficient load management which is necessary for the implementation of micro grids.
In order to be operational a river or canal with 2 m depth, 3 m width and min 1.2 m/s velocity is needed. The System does not require technical operations or maintenance but only regular cleaning.
Today, rural electrification is still mainly done with diesel generators. Photovoltaic is partly replacing the diesel engines but requires expensive battery storage capacities. The SMART turbine is a solution that generates the baseload electricity supply which helps making electricity productive. With the availability of energy in rural areas, populations productivity increases which allows for their integration into local and national economies and thereby impedes migration towards the urban centers.
The specific costs € / kWh of electricity generated with the Smart Turbine are below the costs of its main competitor the diesel generator and at higher river velocities even below the price of electricity from the grid.
Given diesel costs of 1 € per liter a diesel generator produces electricity at approx. 0.33 € / kWh. The development of the SMART turbine followed a design-to-cost approach to meet these costs. Given a short amortization period a final price of no more than 12,500 € (FOB) has been defined. This includes almost everything needed for installation: the turbine, anchor cable, electrical cable and the inverter. The installation itself is kept simple and inexpensive.
This makes the SMART turbine competitive for governmental institutions or corporates which are not cash restricted. To appeal to smaller institutions or households which are cash strapped, the SMART turbine needs to be combined with micro-financing models as existent by institutions like BID or others.
The SMART turbine is made of three main components:
In the heart of the product is a permanent-magnet, synchronous, AC, underwater generator capable of producing up to 5 kW. The rotor blades attach directly without gearbox onto the rotor holder.
The generator is situated horizontally inside the floating diffusor body which has the function of providing stability and efficiency.
An underwater power cable coming from the generator transports varying AC power to dry land. The electrical componentry transforms this into useable single-phase AC.
The turbine can be installed in various ways due to its light weight (360 kg) and size.
The entire system is standardized and was designed to cost.
Organization: Smart Hydro Power GmbH
Contact: Karl Kolmsee
Used by: India, Germany, Nigeria and Colombia
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