Study of a Pump-as-Turbine (PaT) speed control for a Water Distribution Network (WDN) in South-Tyrol subjected to high variable water flow rates
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The development of renewable energy technologies for producing clean energy has more and more become a priority worldwide. Research activities have not just to target the technological improvement of such systems, but they have also to consider their market deployment. In such a scenario, hydraulic machines, in particular Pumps-as-Turbines (PaTs), can play a key role in energy recovery applications. One of the main open issues of PaTs is the performance forecast in turbine mode, due to the lack of data from manufacturers, and their use in some applications with high flow rate and pressure variability, especially at part-load operating conditions like in energy recovery applications within Water Distribution Networks (WDNs). In this work, a MATLAB® Simulink model is developed for simulating a branch of the WDN located in Laives (South-Tyrol), where specific PaTs have been selected and used to substitute Pressure Reducing Valves (PRVs). A speed control by means of an inverter is performed due to the high variability of the flow rate inside the grid branch, allowing the machines to operate at their Best Efficiency Point (BEP). A preliminary analysis showed that it is possible to increase the energy production of about 23% with respect to a constant-speed machine, leading to a significant decrease of the PayBack Period (PBP).
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