Dam removal is the process of removing out-dated, dangerous, or ecologically damaging dams from river systems. There are thousands of out-dated dams in the United States that were built in the 18th and 19th centuries, as well as many more recent ones that have caused such great ecological damage, and they are proposed for removal as Decommissioned Dams. We introduce the HUG low cost solution.
By 2020, over 70% of US dams will be 50 years or older and in need of repair, replacement or removal. In addition, there are over 49,000 low-head, non-powered dams in the U.S. suitable for hydro power. This presents a unique opportunity to equip or upgrade dams, thus providing a financial incentive for dam restoration while contributing to the country’s clean energy portfolio.
Existing options are not suited for low head sites
Current state-of-the-art solutions for low head small and micro hydro systems are generally a one size fits all solution. As a result, turbomachinery suppliers either provide standardized runners with lower efficiencies because the specifics of the water flow and head are not adequately taken into account, or they adjust their design to the waterway under consideration and must then charge large engineering fees. Either way, the project is often not efficient and therefore not economically attractive particularly at the lower end of the head range.
Current costs are too high
Current costs for new turbo- machinery is exorbitantly expensive, rendering a profitable endeavor at most small and micro hydro sites unfeasible. Turbo-machinery suppliers provide standardized runners that will operate within a wide window of head ranges, but providing unacceptable efficiencies at the upper and lower edge of the ranges; or will charge excessive engineering fees when requested to provide the site specific turbine geometry that is required to economically produce power.
Current methods are outdated and inefficient
Small and micro hydro turbines available on the market today are designed and fabricated using methods and materials developed in the 1930’s. These existing designs are expensive and overbuilt, and typically limited to sites with much higher heads than is generally the case. Accordingly, small hydro units are either not optimized for the specific location, or require significant engineering cost that make the value proposition unattractive in most cases.
The cost of upgrading and maintaining many older dams to meet present safety standards is becoming significant as we see from the estimates of the cost to revive the Maynard Dam with a final return on investments in 20 years.
Many older dams, especially those associated with abandoned or outdated industrial and navigation facilities are no longer needed. Many of these old dams in the US have simply been abandoned by their owners, when the cost of maintaining an old dam exceeds the receipts from power sales and liability increases.
Annual generation of 249,829 MWh (20 MW)
$203,533,845/20,000 kW = $10,175/ kW
$203,533,845/249,829,000 kW = $.81/KWh
The Canadian Scene
Many of Ontario’s thousands of dams are reaching an age where they’re breaking down. Dams, if not serving a purpose for flood control or electricity generation, are now generally thought of as obstructing the health of rivers.
Of the 2,000 dams in British Columbia, 400 have either outlived their usefulness, provide only marginal benefits, or severely harm coastal fisheries. With the removal of nearly two-dozen small dams in the province, support is growing for more ambitious decommissioning proposals.
On British Columbia’s Theodosia River, a plan to revitalize lucrative commercial- and sport-salmon fisheries in the Georgia Straits is the basis for a plan to decommission a 35-year-old water diversion dam. If removed, the 8-meter-high, 125-meter-long, Theodosia Dam would be the largest dam ever dismantled in Canada.
“No dam was meant to last forever” – they do age and, eventually, outlive their usefulness.
In a review of all B.C. dams in 2010, after the Testalinden Dam near Oliver collapsed causing major damage, the Providence Dam was deemed one of the most dangerous in the province.
- Instead of decommissioning dams, which are idle, we should look at decommissioning dams by installing several HUG. There could be a high rate of return because the cost would be relatively low and even lower considering adding the cost of deconstruction. One project alone in Washington cost $325 million to decommission. A narrow set of rapids would be part of the plan in order to allow the wild steel head and salmon to return to the river above the former dam site.
- How is it possible for a HUG to save the day? The flow over the dam would be fed into a HUG, which has a helical turbine that rotates an electrical generator. A modulated control assures that the HUG is always filled to the top in order to maintain a constant pressure on the turbine. The electric generator is wired for a steady 60Hz AC current at a required voltage without the use of expensive control systems. We have just saved $325 million and we are now back to producing power as usual.
HUG: Height : 2.14 m; Length 7 m
Kinetic Energy = ½ x A x V 3 x efficiency (A = area swept; Velocity)
= ½ x 5 m2 x (8.3 m/s)3 x .35 = 500 kW/turbine x 9 Turbines = 4.5 MW
Adding Power Economically to a Non-Powered Dam
KINETIC ENERGY = ½ × A × V3 x efficiency (A = area swept; Velocity
1/2 x 1.75 m2 x (10 m/sec)3 x 35%= 306 kW x 6.5 (Venturi )= 2 MW
- Our First Step: to test a 1/20th scale model ($250,000) with an engineering company partner.
- Then an actual working prototype on a HUG FLOAT for $1.3 million
Budget Allowance: $1,300,000 2 MW Decommissioned Dam HUG System: Cost: $78/KW or $0.01/kWh
- HUG System $675,000
- 1 Helical Turbine installed 125,000
- 1 Electrical Generator installed 40,000
- 1 Submersible Pump installed 10,000
- 1 HUG System installed 500,000
- Engineering Planning and Design: 15% 195,000
- Contingency, Insurance, Legal costs: 10% 130,000
- Grid Connection 5% 65,000
- Ten Year Refit 3% 39,000
- Loan Interest 3% 39,000
- Installation 3% 39,000
- Facilities 3% 39,000
- Mooring 2% 26,000
- Construction Management 3% 39,000
- O&M First Year 1% 13,000
Budget Allowance: $1,299,000
Annual Return on Investment: 90% utilization: 6,370 MWh [x $79 (Quebec)] $500,000: ROI = 38%/yr.
Annual Return on Investment: (Ontario FIT) (using $131/MWh) $835,000 ROI = 64%/yr.
GREEN HYDRO POWER STATIONS The installation of most of very low head sites is technically feasible, but civil works give rise to high costs, resulting to economically enviable projects. To solve this problem, one must design a new machine using a completely different philosophy to equip such sites. The study of current turbines reveals that they were all invented on the basis of a poor understanding of hydrodynamics, and a consequent false premise.
MOBILE HUG: The HUG development is an exciting breakthrough in green energy. Small batches of HUG turbines can be installed with only a short period of 12 to 18 months between investment in the technology and the time when revenue starts to flow: it is modular, relatively easy to install and highly scalable.
PRE-FABRICATED HUG Standardized pre-fabricated modules should make it possible to order this new product as a “power plant kit” just like ordering from a catalog. The HUG power plant uses standardized parts, so no custom engineering is necessary. A one-size-fits-all pathway could be ordered.
Why is the HUG Frictionless? When we direct the water to flow at its natural mode, it hugs the inner wall. This kind of vortex motion tends to accelerate and contract the stream of water. The less collisions improves the flow, i.e. the better ordered and more dense the flow will be. The net result is that the velocity of the flow in the HUG is four to five times faster than the river velocity.
SOME IMPORTANT LINKS:
HELPING SOLVE WORLD’S CARBON POLLUTION
AFRICA RENEWED supported by:
- A Micro Hydro Electric System: no dams: HugENERGY.us
- An Irrigation System: NORTHydro.com
- An Agroforestry Intercrop System: LivingWaterIs.com
- The Charitable Arm: SunnyUp.net
- Living Water Micro Finance: LivingWaterMicroFinance.org
- Thunder of Justice: ThunderofJustice.com
- God’s Loveletters: Godloveletters.com
- A Rabbit and Fish Farm: Africapitalism.us
- Deliverance Is: DeliveranceIs.com