Researchers from Trinity and Bangor University are leading a five-year EU research project (Dwr Uisce) to reduce energy consumption in water distribution systems through low-cost, in-pipe hydropower turbines.
The savings made from a recently installed demonstration in Co. Wexford are being donated to the charity, Wells for Life, to help fund third world infrastructure.
The recently installed demonstration of this technology is located at Blackstairs Group Water Scheme, where it highlights an effective means of reducing energy consumption and climate change emissions from the water supply sector.
A low-cost turbine was installed in the water supply network and is reducing energy consumption from the treatment works by 20-25%.
This pilot plant was recently opened by Chief Executive Officer of the National Federation of Group Water Schemes (NFGWS), Barry Deane, and Chairman of the Blackstairs Group Water Scheme (GWS), Pat Sinnott.
In recent years water suppliers, including GWS, have been more and more aware of the impacts of climate change on the services they provide. Initiatives such as the Dwr Uisce project, where energy can be recovered and recycled to reduce the associated carbon footprint and operating costs, are much needed.
Improvements in the long-term sustainability of Blackstairs GWS have been achieved through collaborating with an international research team from the fields of engineering, environmental, geography and management, who are working together with a network of industry and water authorities.
Associate Professor in Trinity’s School of Engineering, and leader of the Dwr Uisce project, Dr Aonghus McNabola, said:
The demonstration of this energy saving technology in Blackstairs is a very significant milestone for this project and it will make an important impact on the cost and environmental impact of water supply in this part of Wexford.
General Manager of the Blackstairs Group Water Scheme, Dympna Skelton, added: “We are delighted this demonstration is taking place on our scheme. It enables us to reduce our impact on climate change by recovering energy while simultaneously making access to clean drinking water possible for another community in Uganda through Wells of Life.”
Dwr Uisce is funded by the European Regional Development Fund, through the Ireland Wales Programme 2014-2020.