ADT to Lead Blade Design for Pumped Hydropower Storage Project

Pumps & Hydraulic Turbines October 5, 2021

ADT is part of the ALPHEUS project, funded by the EU's Horizon 2020 programme. Our role is going to be the blade design and optimization of two low-head axial contra-rotating reversible pump-turbines.

The recently awarded ALPHEUS project is due to start in April and run for 48 months. It's aimed at improving grid stability in response to the growing proportion of energy that is provided by renewable sources. To achieve this, the target is to improve reversible pump-turbine technology and the adjacent civil structures needed to make pumped hydro storage economically viable in shallow seas and coastal environments with flat topography.

The picture above shows the ALPHEUS concept, with 'WP2' the part ADT will be taking the lead on. In particular this is going to involve the design and optimization of two low-head axial contra-rotating reversible pump-turbines using our unique 3D Inverse Design technology. There will be one shaft-driven contra-rotating propeller RPT and another rim-driven. They will be designed and optimized according to three criteria; round trip efficiency, mode switching time and fish mortality. These objectives have been set by the overall project aims to create an RPT that can switch from pump to turbine mode in less than one minute, operates at round trip efficiency of over 70% and minimizes the environmental impact.

Learn more about Horizon 2020

The contra-rotating configuration is widely used in aeronautical and marine applications, as well as as a micro turbine for drinking water applications. The efficiency of this type of propeller is about 6-16% higher than conventional, one-runner, propellers. As the power in/out is shared between two blade rows, we can expect to see a reduction in diameter of about 10% as well. This should help reduce the cost of the civil structure, while distributing torque across two stages will make the PTO less expensive per stage. A variable speed contra-rotating device will allow the whole device to operate with optimum performance at a wide range of operating conditions.

Over the past 20 years ADT has played a major role in helping turbomachinery companies design more efficient turbomachines and has contributed to significant reduction in CO2 emissions. However, it's increasingly clear that urgent action is needed to further reduce and eliminate carbon emissions into the atmosphere if we are to avoid irreversible damage to the environment.

The ALPHEUS project is a great opportunity for the development of novel pump/turbine energy storage systems for low head applications, which should help to go some way towards solving some of the issues around grid stability as the percentage of renewable energy grows.

We're going to be posting updates throughout the project's lifecycle. To stay in the loop, drop your email in the box below and we'll let you know as soon an update is released.

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James Knight

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