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Research Project on Micro-Hydropower in Water Supply Systems Showcased at the Launch of Interreg 2014-2020 funding programme

31 March 2015

The supply and treatment of water is an energy intensive process, consuming large amounts of electricity and contributing heavily to climate change. The water industry is the 4th most energy intensive sector in the UK, for example, and 2-3% of global energy consumption is related to the supply and treatment of water. As such the industry is focused on methods of reducing their energy consumption and CO2 emissions.

Presentation of Micro-Hydropower Research for the Water Supply Sector at INTERREG Ireland-Wales 2014-2020 Event in Swansea, UK. L/R: Mr. Ian Harris, SENRGY, Bangor University; Dr. John Gallagher, SENRGY, Bangor University; Minister Jane Hutt AM, Minister for Finance and Government Business, Welsh Government; Minister Brendan Howlin TD, Dept of Public Expenditure and Reform; Dr. Aonghus McNabola, School of Engineering, Trinity College Dublin; Prof. Paul Coughlan, School of Business, Trinity College Dublin.

Addressing this challenge, the HydroBPT project commenced in May 2011 investigating the technical, economic and environmental viability of Micro-hydropower (MHP) in water supply networks in Ireland and Wales. €975,000 in funding was provided by the Ireland-Wales Interreg 2007-2013 programme to quantify the energy saving potential of MHP in the water infrastructure of Ireland and Wales. In addition the project team carried out work in developing:

  • New turbine technology for use in water networks
  • Optimisation software for the design of water networks with maximum energy recovery
  • A GIS database of existing energy saving potential in the water network
  • The environmental impact of MHP in the water network
  • A life cycle assessment and Eco-design methodology for MHP energy recovery
  • A business management/collaboration model for the optimum implementation of MHP energy recovery projects

The HydroBPT team comprised a collaboration of the School of Engineering and School of Business at Trinity College Dublin, and the School of Environmental Science, Natural Resources and Geography at Bangor University.
The results of the project highlighted over 338 locations within the existing water networks of Ireland and Wales were MHP energy recovery systems could reduce the energy demands and CO2 emissions of the network. In total over 20 GWh of energy could be saved annually in Ireland and Wales should MHP energy recovery be implemented widely. This would equate to a >€2.5 million saving in annual electricity costs and a reduction of over 10,000 tonnes CO2 eq from the industry per annum.


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