Dublin Institute of Technology
In partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree
Bachelor of Science in
Electrical Services and Energy Management
Title: Hydro Power for Micro-Generation
By:Mr. Rónán Padden
Project Supervisor: Mr. Derek Kearney
Date: 11th January 2010
I hereby certify that the material, which is submitted in this project is entirely my own work and has not been submitted for any academic assessment other than as part fulfilment of the assessment procedures for the programme Bachelor of Science in Electrical Services and Energy Management (BSc) (DT 018).
Signature of Student:
Bachelor of Science in Electrical Services and Energy Management DT018 (08-10) i
The main aim of this Thesis was to develop a case study for use by others as a reference guide for the development of small and micro scale hydro - schemes. It was envisaged that this research shall provide a real life look at the inhibiting and the enabling factors for the development of small scale hydro in Ireland. The site chosen as the focus for this case study required significant refurbishment work to be completed at an estimated cost of approximately €55,000 as quoted by one manufacturer in March 2009. This investment would render the hydro turbine fit for operation for years to come and equip the installation with an import/export metering arrangement which would permit the sale of surplus power not required on site, to be sold to the ESB.
There are hundreds of old hydro sites in Ireland that could potentially be refurbished to such an operational standard and it is intended that this document can serve as a reference for those wishing to refurbish existing hydro plant or to determine the feasibility of investing in a new site.
My interest in hydropower (and the reason for writing this Thesis) stemmed from a field trip to the ESB hydroelectric power plant in Leixlip, Co. Kildare and a 45kW old disused micro-hydropower plant at the K-Club, Co. Kildare. Following these site visits, I arranged a trip (via Mr. Seán Neary) to Strokestown Park House where an existing disused hydropower plant was located. The fundamental simplicity of the technology and the obvious environmental advantages associated with its use as a generation source were qualities that compelled me to learn more about the topic. Further basis for my interest in this subject was a culmination of a keen interest in renewable technology, sustainable development and environmental protection. As an engineer working in the Building Services sector, I felt that it is important that an Bachelor of Science in Electrical Services and Energy Management DT018 (08-10) ii
understanding of renewable technologies and micro generation is paramount to the development of sustainable engineering solutions for the years to follow. It must be noted that to accurately assess the existing hydro-turbine installation at Strokestown Park House, the employment of a specialist building contractor was organised so an opening at the top of the turbine intake chamber with access chamber could be installed. This was a necessary requirement to allow thorough examination of the turbine condition and integral to the completion of the Thesis for which I am indebted to the Contractor and to Strokestown Park House.
Although it was envisaged that the turbine would be operational by the date of completion of this report, there were inhibiting factors such as personal circumstances, misunderstanding with SEI regarding grant applications, financial constraints and time limitations that deferred the desired outcome. I would like to take this opportunity to state that this dissertation was made possible by the assistance and cooperation that I have received from many quarters. I am grateful for the information and assistance given to me from Mr. Fiacc O’Brolchain (IHPA), Mr. Pádraig Dooley (ESB), Mr. Terence McGuire (NHT), Mr. Neil...