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Dear PowerSpout Dealers & Interested Parties

October/November/December 2018 Newsletter
EcoInnovation will be closed from the 21st of December 2018 to the 14th of January 2019 (for the summer and Christmas holidays) to allow staff to take annual holiday leave.
4 of 6 PowerSpout PLT300HP turbines on their final trek to site in Nepal.

TRG install in Romania

Well done Florin !
 
 

Website Update

Dealers will be aware we are having a few issues with 3rd party plugins. These issues are:
  • Invoices are not being pushed out to our accounting software (Xero) at time of order. We are manually issuing invoices to fix this for the time being.
  • The multi-currency plugin is not working properly so has been temporarily disabled.
Our staff and IT contractor hope to get these issues resolved for business opening in 2019.
Michael looking worse for wear, on site in Nepal
Note the new pressure gauge mounting option installed
Job done in Nepal - time to go home
To read more click here
 
A recent install by Hugh Piggott, for more detailed information click  here
It is good practice to do a quick write up after each job following the installation. This will be of great help in the future once your recollection fades. Send us your installation write up so we can promote your good work to a wider audience. 

Fronius Inverter - do they work with our PLT hydro turbines? 


Dealer Darren Copper replies:
Well it worked, have PLT turbine only running on one jet as water is a bit low.
60psi static, 57-58 psi dynamic, 80mm x 260m pvc, 1 x 9.2 mm jet for 1.6 l/s.
300m, 4mm2 solar twin wire, 280 Watts at inverter.
Inverter set on fixed pv voltage 200v , spray pattern spot on central/ square.

Michael comments: with this data the calculation tool predicts 319W into inverter, so 280W out is about correct without MPPT and inverter losses)

Won’t track if left in auto tracking, runs for a bit then can’t find max power point, output will drop to 80 odd Watts then track up again.
Mppt user definable set between 190 and 280, all the voltages we tried it would track but never at a flat output, I think given time it would get out of sync and oscillate. 
Selectronic unloads Fronius inverters (3 in total, 2-solar 1-hydro) as power requirements drop turbine voltage rises and at 300v the PowerClamps limit further increase.
Will measure revs to see how the rev per watts works out.

Regards Darren Cooper

Michael comments:  We did not approve the Fronious inverter for this off-grid AC coupled system.
Darren was keen to try one and were also very keen to see if the Fronius would track hydro "out of the box" in auto track solar PV mode.
The fixed PV voltage can work well, but this would need to be adjusted for peak output if you ever altered the number or size of jets.

As such we will not be adding Fronius to the recommended GTI list for our products. When we tested the latest generation of SMA GTI's we had the same issue of wandering tracking that only works for solar PV.
 

DIY hydro in NZ

Hi Michael,
Had my  DIY microhydro running 2.5 yrs, your pelton wheel and jets.
Using a black rotor with a copper stator 36 pole rewired, runs lithium bank which I made.
Head around 15m, 5 lps & 3" pipe. Average around 350-410W. Keep up the good work.
 
.......I must confess I am often impressed by DIY’ers. It is not a turbine of beauty but it works for this person - so well done :).  Please note we have a section on our new website for DIY jobs like this.

 PowerSpout TRG - Too much power ....and the jets are supported !


This TRG 80 HP is cranking at 1.679kW on 13.5m net head. HP PMA and oversized jets fitted. I would not have believed this possible (see next article) as the calculated output is only 1178W but the client assures me this is the case and sent a picture of the MC250 screen as proof and also checked that the metering was correct.

Client comment: Suffice as to say I am very happy with the final output, much higher than anyone expected.

When I tested the TRG design, I was well aware that too much flow at lower head (and lower RPM) can flood the rotor and cause the output power to crash. Hence our calculation tool was coded based on our observed test results focusing on the lower head range, we were conservative with the maximum flow allowed to ensure we did not flood the rotor while maintaining optimal turbine efficiency.

In this case, the client has more head than we were advised, so the jets fitted in the factory were too large for the reported flow. But the client had a large pipe and had also understated the flow available. 

When run he got 1679W, but the rpm of the rotor is ideal at 1313 rpm for a 13.5m head and our HP PMA cannot do more than than 1.0 W/rpm. So how is this possible? Well the answer is simple. If you have a large pipe and plenty of flow and fit larger jets than advised you can overspeed the PMA well above the point of peak system efficiency, so yes you can get more delivered power but with a lower system efficiency. So in this case the turbine must be doing about 1679 rpm and not the ideal 1313 rpm for peak turgo rotor efficiency. I am happy that TRG clients with HP PMA’s who have plenty of water in the wet season and have a large pipe can fit larger jets and enjoy upto 40% more output power. Note we do not approve an output power above 1600W or output current above 30 amps without first seeking our approval on TRG HP turbines.

For experienced dealers reading this, note the input voltage (see picture) is 109.5V, but the turbine is a TRG80HP, so we would expect to see about 80V. The higher input voltage, due to higher rpm (caused by higher than expected input jet power) results in higher than expected output power but at the cost of system efficiency.
 

Email to Hugh Piggott from client about TRG performance when flooding the rotor with large jets fitted


Hi Hugh
I hope all is well with you this wet autumn?
I am aware that I am overdue providing some feedback on the various jet sizes for the TRG.  I have tried the range of sizes up to 25.5mm. What I found is that the 25.5 works OK on about up to 6.8m head, but if the burn is in spate (hence head rises a bit), the runner floods out with resulting noise and power drop. This is ‘touch and go’ – i.e. it will clear itself and run OK for a few minutes then flood again.
I have moved down to the 25mm jets now and today we have 6.95m head and I am getting 740W with an output voltage of 86V (Michael notes the calculation tool advises 714W).  This is a bit over 50% of the no-load voltage of 165V and I suppose it should be a little higher as turgo runaway is typically 180% of normal speed.  I will play with the voltage and see if I can get a bit more. It also occurs to me that the 25.5mm jets might work if I used a higher speed as the water could clear the runner better – I will try that if I have time (Michael notes -  you can get a higher rpm by packing out the rotor but this will result in a fall in peak W/rpm of the PMA).  Indeed, I should run a full suite of tests and feed back properly, but didn’t want you to think I had forgotten about the free jets and the need to get some data!
Cheers for now

TRG’s in Wales - by our dealer Westflight 

Hydro systems generating less than 2.5kW don’t sound very interesting to most in the Hydro industry but in the later part of the 19th and the first half of the 20th century they were installed in large numbers to provide electricity to rural properties and farms long before the National Grid arrived. With rising electricity costs there is a lot of interest in bringing some of these now redundant sites back into generation and reducing the cost of purchased electricity for on-site consumption.
 
Westflight Ltd are distributors for the PowerSpout range of hydro turbines which includes a four jet Turgo for heads up to 30m, a two jet Pelton for heads up to 130m and a Low Head model especially designed for former mill sites with heads between 2.0 and 5m. All of the turbines utilise the same Smart Drive PMA with a maximum output of 1.6kW at 3ph AC. Within the unit this is rectified to DC and a suitable solar PV inverter is used to connect the system directly to the on-site consumer unit and comply with G83/2 regulations. PowerSpout turbines are robust and simple units costing around £1500 - £2000 depending on the model. Typically they require a bearing replacement every 2-3 years and jet / runner replacement at 5 – 10 years depending on the site conditions.
 
Many former small hydro sites still have a lot of the infrastructure in place and the owners are keen to utilise this as much as possible to reduce their installation costs.
 
This system was originally an undershot Pelton with a 30” diameter runner driving a DC generator through a flat belt and installed in the 1930’s. It continued to operate until the late 1960’s when the grid finally arrived and it became redundant.
 
To enable two PowerSpout Turgo turbines to be installed the penstock was extended to provide a simple manifold over which the turbines are located. Each turbine has its own inverter which supplies its’ output to the consumer unit in the farm house. For 7 – 8 months of the year there is sufficient water in the mountain stream to run both turbines each with an output of around 1.1 kW. The 52kWh supplied to the farm each day has dramatically reduced the purchased electricity cost especially during the winter period when livestock are all housed and during lambing when the shed lights are on 24/7. During the summer months when the available flow is reduced, one of the turbines is simply turned off with a corresponding reduction in output.
 
An Immersun diversion controller detects when the hydro generation is greater than the on-site demand and switches the excess energy to an immersion heater in a 2000 litre heat store which provides most of the properties hot water requirements. The owner, who chose not to apply for the FIT and who undertook the installation himself with the aid of his local electrician says that the £4000 cost should be recovered in less than 4 years just on purchased electricity cost saving.
 

1.5kW install in NZ 

For a video click here to watch them running, notice how quiet they are at this low head. 
Click here for the intake video (made and installed by a local contractor).
For how to prime grease click here. For how to prime a spring loaded grease can click here.
  • 3 x PLT80 HP turbines
  • Standard 75mm OD PVC manifold connected to 200mm OD  PVC penstock via 75mm ID flexible hose and camlock fitting.
  • 12.5m static head, 11m dynamic head with ideal running speed of 548 rpm
  • 2 x 20mm jet per turbine
  • Spring loaded auto greaser fitted - click here for grease charge video and here for spring loaded greaser video
  • PowerClamp fitted to turbines to limit Voc <120v so is ELV under NZ wiring rules.
  • Power at turbines =  80V x 19.5A =1560W at turbines 
  • Cable 600m of 120mm^2 aluminium
  • MPPT is a 250V Victron
Power shed will be built (by client) over the timber shed base you can see the turbines mounted on. The exhaust water flume is made from timber and lined with an off-cut of vinyl flooring. The client will install a concrete/rock exhaust channel in due course.
Our conservative calculation tool for a PLT HP predicts 418W with 20mm jets fitted at 7.7 l/s, we got in the end 520W per turbine with 20mm jets fitted. This is about 24% more than expected, so a very good result for all concerned.  The generation is very close to 1 W/rpm, we may be able to generate a little more power with a larger jets until the static pressure falls to 8.3m (pipe power limit), but to do this we would need to increase the height of the exhaust flume from 200mm to 300mm.

Bill Cave's talk at the NEC UK

Bill reports……….

I would guess the PLT efficiency is better than your suggestion of low 60% …...some time back when I reckoned best whole system efficiency was only 50% (now 55%) I attributed component efficiencies as follows:

  • penstock efficiency @ 3 lps                      0.95

  • manifold efficiency                                    0.98

  • nozzle efficiency                                        0.98

  • Pelton turbine efficiency                           0.77

  • turbine / alternator drive efficiency          1.00

  • SmartDrive PMA alternator efficiency      0.80

  • transmission line efficiency                      0.98

  • SMA 1200 inverter efficiency                    0.90

(Calc 0.95*0.98*0.98*0.77*1*0.8*0.98*0.9 = 0.496)

  …as you can see, the PLT efficiency I guesstimated at 77%.
  
Some of these component efficiencies were ‘known’ (eg GTI, penstock & drive efficiencies) whilst the rest were informed guesses, but guesses juggled to get the product of multiplying them all together to be the whole system efficiency which I had actually measured.

If the PLT efficiency was only in the low 60% range, it would mean the other efficiencies would have to be impossibly high to get the product of them multiplied together to be right.

So I would put the PLT efficiency rather higher than your figure, ie at least to low 70% .

Michael notes….. PowerSout complete turbine efficiency (jets, rotor, PMA) = 0.98 x 0.77 x 0.8 =  0.6 or 60%

This work that Bill has done, independent of PowerSpout helps to explain why our PLT  turbines perform better than we state. At 3L/s using Bill’s site data we estimated 801W at turbine at 52.3% turbine efficiency, but in practice we got about 918W at 60%.  This is about 15% better than our calculation tool predicts.

Our TRG calculation tools are less conservative, you generally get within 5% of the calculated resulted. When we next update the calculation tools we will lift the PLT efficiency by 10% for all sites >200W.

SHP cover
 

SHP-triplex update

Parts to manufacutre 100 SHP-triplex solar pumps have been ordered and we expect delivery in early 2018.
We now have a compact and tidy body fairing for this rotating machine. Staff are still working on the software and bluetooth interface which will hopefully be ready in early 2019. 
 

2019 minor product improvements

From the start of production in 2019 there will be these minor product changes:

PLT only:
  • New slinger drain hole cover and VA25 end shield (also PLT Cube)
  • New Voc test socket for all GTI and MPPT connected turbines (not on PLT Cubes or PLT 14/28/56 options) hidden under LHS cooling vent
TRG, PLT and Cube:
  • New long taper jet and new retaining cap
TRG and PLT (under 100m head not on Cube):
  • Pressure fitting in valve, with tube, fitting and pressure gauge supplied
All the best, keep up the good work.

Michael Lawley

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