Satellite

Researchers from the University of Leicester and High Efficiency Heating UK Ltd. are hoping to use satellite data as a means of simplifying the process of locating sites for micro hydro projects.

The partners were awarded a US$201,550 grant from the UK’s Technology Strategy Board for work on the 10-month project, which is being called ISMORTASED, or “Identification of Sites for Micro-Hydropower On Rivers Through Applied Satellite and Environmental Data”.

The university will use its expertise in geographical information systems (GIS) to develop a method designed to cut costs in identifying potential small hydropower sites.

“Currently, to determine the viability of a stretch of river or stream for micro hydro power, the process is expensive and complex,” High Efficiency Heating (HEH) managing director Andy Baxter said. “At present, there’s a significant fee to pay to determine whether a particular stretch of river will yield hydropower — and this is before socioeconomic factors and due processes such as planning applications are taken into account.”

Work on the GIS will be coordinated by the university’s Department of Geography, which said it will develop a prototype system to combine as many as two dozen data sets to evaluate sites.

“We hope that the widespread proliferation of run-of-river micro hydropower will help towards a stable, green, constant and predictable supply of power in the next few years,” Baxter said. “We have to combine electricity storage with a reliable and constant energy source. Hydropower is half of that solution.”

Lessons learned from the project could have global implications, according to Dr. Kevin Tansey of the university’s geography department.

“The current and growing concerns of climate and energy make this project of interest both nationally and internationally,” Tansey said. “The University of Leicester’s involvement with commercial organizations to develop tools that are applicable at the local scale globally is exciting and timely.”

 

Michael Harris

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About kingstonrenewableenergy

Kingston Renewable Energy (KRE), Hydropower products, wind energy, renewable energy products, We manufacture, supply and install. Richard Kingston KRE is the home of Fluxy, a beautiful Irish made wind turbine designed to last several life-times, and a host of other Hydro products branded under KRE hydro. KRE HYDRO- KRE are currently installing a range of Hydro products including high head low flow systems and low head high flow. These are pelton and Turgo types for high head, crossflow Banki turbines for medium to low head and Powerpal for Ultra low head. We also plan to introduce a custom timber/steel/aluminium waterwheel service for those of you who are lucky enough to have disused mills on their land and who would like to restore them to their former glory (and make a healthy profit in the process). All hydro installations are custom designed. This is necessary because everybody's land and water resource is different and to benefit from the highest efficiency and lowest payback time the hydro system must be customized according to what flow, penstock length required, and what head is available. Hydropower is currently by far the most cost effective renewable resource in Ireland under the existing Feed in tariff structure and export rate of 9c per unit (wholesale rate for bigger systems is €0.087/kWh). It is surprising how much energy is to be harvested from even a small stream and we are offering 4 to 7 year payback times on average and high profits thereafter. KRE FLUXY- It has been a long journey from when I originally set out to buy a wind turbine to power my own house in 2007 and discovered that the existing machines on offer in the market failed to meet my desires as a customer; that is, to possess an aesthetically designed machine with a low embodied carbon footprint and a long design lifespan. This led to my resolve to make this a possibility as I knew there were other like minded folks out there who had the same needs when buying into renewable energy. I have always been a keen environmental activist and had a strong understanding of engineering and material sciences which enabled me to see failings in the high tech electronically controlled machines commonly available today. These weaknesses come from over complicating the wind system with servo motors, sensors, gear trains, relays and logic circuits; fine for large utility scale turbines which are constantly monitored and have continual maintenance on site but not for a small wind turbine in the back yard to run the house. I could see that wind turbines needed to be brought back to a less complicated yet modern design that would withstand time and the turbulent and violent winds we see in Ireland and fulfilling the old engineers adage of ‘KISS’ or ‘keep it simple stupid’. With less component parts, there are less things to go wrong. My vision was to create a machine that offered the benefits of being an economic investment, a positive for the environment and also to be a design piece that our customers are proud to have flying in their grounds. And so, I present you with the fully mechanical Kingston Renewable Energy Fluxy wind turbine. Please feel free to contact us at any time if you have any questions or think you may have a good wind site. We will happily do a site assessment come rain or shine. Stay posted for the monthly blogs from our inspirational team here at KRE. Check out our latest installments in our crusade to get higher feed-in tariffs in Ireland so that we can compete with the rest of Europe in the micro-generation stakes. The Hydro section of our website will be updated shortly to show our newest installations and showcase our products. Yours sincerely, Richard Kingston

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