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Design and calculation of new and existing hydrosites used for energy production.
1. Predesign of new and/or existing hydrosites for energy production.
- 2 important conditions are needed to produce energy via water. On the one hand, a certain constant flow, a (continuous) feed of water, must be present. On the other hand, this feed of water must hold a height difference, i.e. falling to a lower level. If, at this point, the weight of the falling water is converted into making a shaft turn, which is connected to a power generator, environmental green power is generated. More energy can be generated if more water flow and/or a bigger height difference are present.
- The water flow of a creek or canal is not sufficient for this purpose.Only by damming up this water, the water energy (i.e. the weight of water) is sufficient for conversion into so-called green power. By law, it is not allowed to build such dams at any location in a creek or any other water flow. Though, whenever there is the opportunity of having a dam at your disposal, being out-of-order and/or fallen into decay, a re-launch may be considered if the necessary permits are granted.E.g., for old water mills a law, dated since Napoleon’s time, called the ‘water right’ is still applicable at present: at water mills, it is allowed to dam up the water stream to a certain level. In practice, this level is the maximum height upstream of the water mill. The mill-owner is free to use this fall or not, even after years of non-usage.
- To understand the potential energy that can be generated, multiply the water flow [m³/sec] with the total drop in height [m] and multiply the result with 9.81 [m/s²]. This result is the amount of energy that can be generated in KiloWatts [KW]. With 1KW or 1000Watt, one can power 10 spots of 100W continuously! More detailed information on how to calculate the water flow, the amount of energy, etc. can be found on ode-vlaanderen, (see Links-page) or simply fill out the contact form and we are more than happy to help you out.
- The pre-design of a hydrosite evaluates the possibilities for energy production. By studying the location, the water stream, doing some measurements or by a short visit on site, the feasibility will become clear.
- Having the feasibility study at hand, a more profound study can be done, providing on the one hand the theoretical energy yield of the hydrosite and a pre-design with a cost estimation of the realization/renovation on the other hand. From there, a first return on investment can be calculated. Without considerable investments, a more objective Go / No Go can be made prior to further in-depth studies and designing.
2. Design of greenfield project
- Hydroelectric power station, pump stations, dams and complete water management projects are considered as a whole or as a separate project. From a mechanical design of the installation and the location, the necessary controls and/or possible automation and follow-up, a complete and coherent proposal is designed, meeting the initial conditions and expectations. The size of the project is of minor importance for it is the ingenuity to come to the best result, quality and performance.
- From the initial survey, location up to complete designing of greenfield projects, setting-up the specifications, the cost dropdown and the budget planning will provide full support from granting the first permission up to the actual realization. See further under ‘Technical Development and Studies’.
3. Renovation of existing water mill with the option for energy production.
- Over 300 water mills exist in Flanders only. Some of them are renovated, plenty are in decay and only a small number of those mills are effectively used for energy production. Regrettable, knowing the rather short payback of turning an already renovated mill into a real energy generating hydrosite (2-4 years only!). The installation for energy production is each time an unique design, constructed in that way that the authentic character of the -quite often- historical building remains.The challenge though is not the technical know-how and installation itself, but being creative and smart with the possibilities and drawbacks of the (already renovated) water mill. Merging together old and new in a satisfying way requires knowledge and good skills.
- Typically, renovation is done or will be done prior to implementing energy production. The art of renovation old technology exists in the synergy with modern state-of-the-art technology without interfering in the authenticity of the water mill. Take the renovation of a wooden part for instance, where the knowledge and principles of those days is followed, though where modern machinery is used to manufacture those authentic parts. Metal renovation for instance will come down to keeping the original cast-iron parts while exchanging turning and functional parts with modern high-tech pieces (e.g. ball bearings, clutches, …)The looks of the water mill remains after the renovation, but with a new heart at the inside; a brand new life ready for e.g. energy production. For (classified) water mills, subsidies up to 80% of the renovation costs are possible, however it may become a complex story. Also for this paperwork phase, the necessary support can be provided (cfr. consultation and requests at governmental bodies).
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