Power management company Eaton has secured funding from the U.S. Department of Energy to deploy new hydropower generation at existing non-powered dams and waterways. Under this second stage of the contract, Eaton will manufacture and test new, low-cost integrated hydropower turbine and generator sets to help enhance the cost-effectiveness of new hydropower generation facilities.
“According to Energy Department assessments, more than 50 G of potential capacity remains untapped at existing small-scale hydropower sites, which is a huge potential resource for renewable energy,” said David Yee, principal engineer, Eaton research and technology. “Eaton is leveraging decades of manufacturing and engineering expertise to help innovate hydro turbine technology to improve economics in small-scale hydropower applications and make renewable power more accessible to developers.”
The initial phase of this project focused on turbine design, analysis and optimization. As part of that phase, Eaton performed a system architecture and trade study to establish component sizing to help optimize system cost, performance and versatility for non-powered dam sites. During this second phase of the project Eaton will build and test a scaled-down prototype of the turbine and generator. This is expected to be complete in 2018.
Project findings will benefit numerous groups, including power producing asset owners and managers by contributing to more efficient and diverse technologies; electrical power consumers, who will have access to more reliable power sources; and companies involved in new power projects, who can grow their businesses by adding generation capacity to non-powered dams.