This open design looks interesting, but there are a couple oddities in the Wikipedia article I'd appreciate clarification on from a subject matter expert:
>It was first patented by Greek-Australian Lawyer & Inventor Paul Kouris in 1996, who was searching for a way to harness the power inherent in a vortex.
What power is inherent in a vortex apart from gravitational potential energy being converted to kinetic energy?
>after a year of use its operation cost was approximately one US dollar per Watt capacity of output.
Shouldn't that be installation cost, not operating cost?
The Wikipedia article read a bit like an advertisement to me.
I don't suspect the Coriolis force of the Earth contributes much to this turbine either, though I admit I don't know much about the Coriolis force in fluid dynamics. For objects of the size shown, Coriolis forces are neglected in my experience.
Edit: Wikipedia backs me up on the Coriolis force being negligible. Aside from starting the rotation in the cited tests (something needs to break the symmetry), the Coriolis force is negligible compared against gravity. In the turbine case I believe turbulence would break the symmetry (the turbulence itself being influenced by imperfections in the flow, surfaces, vibrations, etc.).
Of course there isn't any power to be gained from the vortex. What you would gain is a lot of RPMs from very little head. It makes the system be high speed and low torque. The dynamos would be higher voltage (lower amperage), the wiring and inverters are cheaper with lower amperage, and the structure doesn't have to be as strong since the torques are lower. It might even automatically safe during floods, since too much water entering it would distrupt the vortex and halt the wheel.
It is more like a clever hydraulic gearbox that potentially makes all the other components less expensive. Or am I completely off base? The water is spinning around faster than it would be flowing out, correct?
Coriolis Force is meaningless on this length scale.
My first thought was that didn't sound right so it must just be marketing bs.
>...one of the companies cited in the Wikipedia article..."
And then this:
If the company in question are saying stuff like "powered by the coriolis effect" then to call them liars, you'd have to actually look at their site and see if they actual sell anything real. Then either do research on the claim, and then come to a judgement, like this:
1. If they are crackpots in their garage and sell hand-made junk from PVC scraps, then yes, it could be ignorance.
2. If they have a real engineer and a marketing department, then it's probably lying.
Which is it? I don't care to look at every site on Wikipedia to figure out which one the comment was about. So instead, I asked the question, maybe someone else has done some research?
> Shouldn't that be installation cost, not operating cost?
Since the Wikipedia article does not say, we can not be sure. I interpreted that sentence to intend to describe the long term operating costs without consideration of the up-front installation costs (which obviously will inflate the actual long term operational costs if installation costs were amortized over the lifetime of the unit).
"The hydraulic ram is sometimes used in remote areas, where there is both a source of low-head hydropower and a need for pumping water to a destination higher in elevation than the source."
its amazing how little there is to it, and how relatively quiet it is.
- One nuclear core: 700MW
- Or 50.000 of those microhydraulic turbines.
Also see: Viktor Schauberger (caution: will take you down quite a rabbit hole).
You can imagine a world where the efficiency of a more traditional turbine setup (measured in watts/$ including amortized capital and operating cost) scales down badly as hydraulic head decreases, and in fact is scales more poorly than the amount of power available.
What you're left with are scenarios where there's room for you to perform more efficiency than a traditional turbine if you can somehow get different scaling characteristics.
The economic viability becomes even more complex once you start considering things like what type of distribution you're dealing with.
Questions like, is it more efficient overall to have more distributed, but less efficiency generating sources, with reduced distribution costs, or have fewer more efficient generating sources with increased distribution costs.
I'd agree that in more of North America and Western Europe, this probably doesn't make sense. But there's still lots of places where the cost of hooking up to the grid is substantial.
Actually, looking at that calculation, I wonder how much the fact that this turbine doesn't introduce cavitation (bubbles) affects the efficiency. The water would be more dense, which would theoretically improve output... no idea if enough to worry about, though.
There are many cases where energy can be harnessed in daily activities, the biggest issue is the efficiency and cost of doing so. Most plumbing use wouldn't add up to nearly enough energy to offset the construction.
For example, US average yearly rainfall of 76cm, on a 10m*15m roof, at height of two stories at 5 meters, would give you 1.5kWh of energy per year. That's enough to run the appliances in your home for an hour.
You might be in a more rainy location, or have a larger home, but the end result is still insignificantly small.
my second reaction: on tall building there might be enough height difference to actually bother thinking about it.
So water from showers and sinks, not from toilets. The only contaminant should be a small amount of soap and maybe a few hairs.
Much smaller scale but along with a little solar and a little wind they were 100% off the grid.
A turbine in a vortex has 100% water-blade contact all the time, which means it can transfer more power with a smaller size and cheaper materials.
As other people have said, the advantage here seems to be that you get a high rotation speed out of a low hydraulic head. A waterwheel in this case would have lower RPMs, and so require more gearing etc. to be efficient for power production.
In general, turbines are preferred because the moving parts are smaller - rather than having a massive spinning wheel, you just let gravity provide the water pressure, and have a much smaller turbine blade do the spinning.
Vortex turbines are for tapping a creek or the canals left behind by a pre-steam ways mill that would otherwise be uneconomical to harvest, or where ecological impact of other installations would be too high.