Power-Dense Lightweight Hydro Turbine/Generators for 20,000+ Low-Head US Dams and Reclamation Conduits that Install In-Line,are Low Cost and Mass Producible

Period of Performance: 01/01/2013 - 12/31/2013


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Amjet Turbine Systems, Llc
3588 Main St
Keokuk, IA 52632
Principal Investigator, Firm POC


Identification and Significance of the Problem: The United States alone has over 80,000 dams, unused for power generation. The cost of installing conventional hydro power generation equipment would be high and uneconomical. DOE research confirms that at least 165,000MW of untapped hydroelectric power is available in the US alone. The sites would provide de-facto distributed power, relieving the grid load. Most of these dams have a low & quot;head & quot; (under 50ft and some as low as 5ft) and fall in the Small Hydro (0.3 to 40 MW) category. Conventional hydroelectric systems & apos; major drawbacks are: high cost of equipment and installation, low efficiency because of the use of synchronous generators and mechanical controls; high maintenance cost and inability to install in many otherwise suitable locations because of limited space because of unadaptable configuration (no in-line placement). How problem is being addressed A large portion of these dams could produce power economically with low cost, simple-to-install systems being designed and built by ATS. Also, a host of non-dam applications known as run-of-the-river power systems and conduit systems are also possible with the same simple ATS-designed concept. ATS systems are reversible and can function in Pumped Storage plants for power storage and other industrial operations as generators and/or pumps. ATS has built and tested a scale model prototype of this new concept and was successfully validated by the University of Iowa. The ATS concept can efficiently recover power from 5ft head at a cost in most cases of under $2 million per MW. The ATS low-cost mass producible turbines are made with materials and manufacturing techniques known from marine waterjet manufacturing experience that provide an in-line, compact, low weight, efficient power generating unit, has multiple installation configurations and has its own hoist system for service or replacement in one day. The unit requires no power house and installations can be done without touching the existing dam and take 1-6 months instead of years in an ecologically friendly way as no fish are harmed or nature disturbed. The SBIR application asks for DOE assistance to build the first full size unit to be tested and validated for use on these dams in Phases I and II. Phase I will provide the completed design developed from the prototype. The phase II effort will be to build the full scale unit in an actual dam location and the UI Laboratory will validate the operation of the unit. Commercial Applications and other Benefits The untapped hydropower potential in the US is $95 billion and the world potential is estimated to be almost five times that of the US. Major customers will be local governments and owners of existing dams and river tracts. ATS estimates it will grow to $400 million in sales level in five years, providing over 50,000 homes with hydropower and creating 300+ jobs in a HUB zone in Iowa.