If you happen to own or operate larger hotels, or even if you do not, you should pay attention to a new and emerging technology being developed and tested by a company called 10xHydro. I just spoke with Vladimir M Petrovic, the company’s Founder & CEO. He is excited about his company’s compact bladeless turbine that, when placed in pipes carrying hot and cold water, drinking water, natural gas or refrigerant, can regenerate 40 percent of the available energy of the fluid flowing through the pipes. The energy is extracted from pressure reducing devices such as: balancing valves in hydronic circuits, pressure regulators for air, natural gas or LPG, pressure reducers on steam installations and any other installation in need of pressure reducing devices for normal operation. The main feature of the 10xHydro turbine is its ability to harvest energy form low head pressure—thus making it applicable to a wide spectrum of installations. “We’ve developed a new technology with the ability to turn every building into its own Hoover Dam,” Petrovic says. “Our compact bladeless turbine design is a great fit for the low pressure drop and low flows that are commonly seen in buildings.”
The turbines are placed away from the pump’s critical path—to the point where the existing system doesn’t see the turbines. The turbines contain no protruding shafts and include internally embedded electrical generators. The 10xHydro turbine utilizes adhesive forces of fluid (basically friction forces between the fluid and the discs) for energy extraction. This enables simpler and more reliable construction that has lower propensity for breakage due to mechanical stresses.
The 10xHydro Turbine Electrical System (10xTES) associated with the turbine is powered by the turbine three-phase alternating current (AC) asynchronous generator. It does not require any additional power supply nor power consumer. The autonomous 10xTES system is capable of monitoring and reporting on the operation of the turbine depending on the changes in operating conditions. In addition, controlling capabilities are introduced through the electrical load of the system itself.
Petrovic says the turbines can pay for themselves in about five years. ROI time will vary depending on electricity rates. Petrovic says he already has had interest from one major hotel company for its properties in Hawaii and the Caribbean, where electricity rates are high. Provided funding is in place, the final version of the water turbines should be available within one to two years. The turbines already have been successfully tested in five locations including a SUNOKO sugar plant (Europe) and the Adobe headquarters in San Jose, Calif. “Our turbines can be developed to work with any fluid pipe—including oil, steam, natural gas, and refrigeration,” Petrovic emphasizes.