9 July 2015

Fairbanksnijhuis introduces first bi-directional turbine in the world

Winterswijk – July 9th 2015 – After the fish-friendly pump and the fish-friendly turbine Fairbanks Nijhuis (part of Pentair Inc.) has another scoop. They introduce a bi-directional turbine...

Winterswijk – July 9th 2015 – After the fish-friendly pump and the fish-friendly turbine Fairbanks Nijhuis (part of Pentair Inc.) has another scoop. They introduce a bi-directional turbine that scores very good in terms of both performance and fish-friendliness. The bi-directional turbine is optimized for generating energy from tides and is equipped with blades that can rotate 180 degrees. Research by the EU Interreg project Pro-Tide has shown that this turbine has the best available technology when it comes to generating energy from tides and scores almost 100% on fish-friendliness.

The generation of tidal energy is one of the oldest forms of sustainable energy. Within Pro- Tide five partners from the Netherlands, Belgium, England and France operate together in a study to identify the best technique to  exploit tidal energy from dams. Pentair Fairbanks Nijhuis’ bi-directional turbine thereby came out on top of the test. Raymond Meijnen R & D engineer at Fairbanks Nijhuis was closely involved in the development: "The bi-directional turbine is an evolution of our low head fish-friendly turbine. The big difference between the two is that the existing turbine is only suitable for use in rivers because water can only pass the turbine in one direction, whereas the water can pass the bi-directional turbine in both directions. The turbine blades can rotate 180 degrees and are able to rotate when the tide is reversing. Research conducted by Pro-Tide has proven that our technique can generate the maximum amount of energy. The turbine was originally developed for the Power consortium project in China, wherein Fairbanks Nijhuis is a participant. The bi-directional turbine, however, can also be used in for example the tidal power plant that will possibly be built at the Brouwersdam in the province of Zeeland."

Nearly 100% fish-friendly

The bi-directional turbine was also tested on fish-friendliness. Raymond Meijnen continues:” For the performance of the tests, a scale model of the bi-directional turbine was used and installed at NUON’s hydro-electric power station in Maurik, the Netherlands. The test with live fish was performed by Pro-Tide, with permission given by the governmental authorities. For the test, three kinds of fish were used: walleye, trout and eels. The test results show that the turbine is nearly 100% fish-friendly: 100% of the eel and 99.9% of the scale fish passed the turbine unscathed. Fairbanks Nijhuis’ bi-drectional turbine offers a solution to a global ecological problem of fish mortality caused by migration through turbines of hydro-electric power stations. As a result of this fish mortality many turbines are out of operation and this implies insufficient use of energy production by hydropower. A fish-friendly solution  is of environmental as well as economical importance.”

Technical features

Fairbanks Nijhuis can design and manufacture this bi-directional turbine custom made for most common operating situations. “The tested scale model turbine is a 1:15 scaling of the future planned bi-directional turbine, that will generate 4000 kW and has a capacity of 340 m3/s with a propeller diameter of 8 meters. Part of the fish-friendly alterations to the turbine is the unique shape of the propeller vane. This creates a favorable flow in the water that allows the fish to migrate safely through the turbine. In addition, the space between the propeller vanes is much wider, which substantially reduces the risk of impact.The applied fish-friendly principles are based on the previously developed and patented fish-friendly pump and turbine, which have successfully been installed in several pumping stations and hydro-electric power stations”, concludes Raymond Meijnen.