The community of Rathnure, County Wexford is to reap the financial rewards of a unique energy generation project. The pilot scheme which began late last year, has been trialled at the EPS operated Blackstairs Group Water Scheme (BGWS) and it’s estimated, will generate 49000 kWh/year, saving over €6,400. This money will be donated to the local community by BGWS and EPS, proving that energy optimisation delivers tangible results to benefit all.
Energy optimisation is a hot topic right now and this was definitely something which was applied to this group water scheme. EPS collaborated with Trinity College Dublin & Bangor University in the Dwr Uisce project, a hydropower energy recovery scheme, where a pump was installed into the usual GWS treatment process.
EPS’ Energy Manager & lead on the project, Benny McDonagh explains. “This project is the first of its kind to be commissioned in Ireland and the UK. As part of our ongoing efforts to use our expertise and resources to reduce our electrical load and carbon footprint, we introduced a pump to act as a turbine (PAT), recovering energy that otherwise would have been wasted. We hope that this successful project is adopted and is rolled out across the country. We have already identified suitable sites and look forward to delivering similar results and further reduce carbon emissions”.
“We have been operating group water schemes where we treat and provide safe drinking water to hundreds of thousands of people across Ireland since 1999, and specifically our GWS in Blackstairs since 2006”, says Barry O’Toole, Operations and Maintenance Director at EPS. “We are committed to the local communities where we live and work and it is wonderful to be able to give even more back to those who support us”.
Pumps as Turbines (PaT) are an unconventional solution for hydropower generation adapted to fit in many scenarios where a conventional turbine unit would not be economically viable. The physical behaviour of PaTs is similar to Francis turbines, but without the possibility of flow regulation. Among the various applications of PaTs is that they have proven to be very effective if used for micro hydro off-grid plants and in-pipe energy recovery. The use of PaTs has shown several advantages over other turbine types, namely
- mass manufacturing
- compact dimensions
- availability and short delivery time
- easy installation, operation and maintenance
- reduced investment cost
- longer life span with respect to traditional turbines
The project was officially launched at Rathnure Community Centre on Thursday, May 2nd, 2019.