Case study

From saving energy to creating energy

Using pumps as turbines to generate low-cost electricity from existing piping systems

Author: Marco Favella, SAER Elettropompe

With increasing pressure globally to lower CO2 emissions and move to more sustainable energy sources while containing costs and ensuring productivity, engineering companies are responding to the challenge. One such company is SAER Elettropompe, one of Italy’s leading manufacturers and suppliers of surface and submersible pumps and motors. 

This article describes how SAER used simulation to transform “standard” pumps into pumps to be used as turbines. The company has been using Ansys CFX to study pump fluid dynamics since 2006 to improve the efficiency and reduce the energy consumption of its pump designs. Together with Easy Hydro, a spin-out of Trinity College Dublin born from the experience of the Dŵr Uisce and REDAWN research projects in the EU, they have commercialized a way to recover energy in water networks or for small-scale hydropower schemes through the use of hydraulic pumps operating as turbines.

The excess water energy generated by the pumps as turbines (PATs) can be used by the pump owners or sold back to the grid, both of which imply significant savings on energy costs. 

Source: Futurities Year 20 n°2