Ural Federal University: Development of Scientists Will Help Provide Electricity to Small Districts

Scientists have developed software to select an acceptable type of micro-hydropower plant for areas where there is no centralized power supply. Based on the hydrological characteristics of shallow mountain streams, the software calculates the capacity of micro-hydropower plants to supply energy to off-grid consumers. The study is published in the International Journal of Hydrogen Energy.

“There are still populated areas that are not supplied with electricity. Construction of autonomous micro HPPs with capacity up to 100 kW is one of the most promising directions for their electrification. For example, in small areas of Kyrgyzstan you can always find a mountain stream where a micro-hydropower plant can be installed with minimal impact on the environment. Our program allows the consumer to choose the most efficient type of micro-hydropower plant for a particular area,” says Murodbek Safaraliev, a research engineer at the Department of Automated Electric Systems at UrFU.

The software solves a complex problem. First of all, the program determines the amount of energy that can be obtained by using a particular watercourse. Then it calculates its sufficiency to meet the needs of a settlement or an agricultural facility.

“The program algorithm takes into account the main parameters and features of small mountain streams: the volume and water level, slope, the nature of the channel, the flow speed, as well as the weather conditions of the selected area. The program forms data bases on the rivers and their hydrological characteristics, existing types of micro hydroelectric power stations. Based on this data the program offers variants of micro hydroelectric plants which correspond to the capacity of individually selected rivers,” explains Sergey Kokin, professor of the Department of Automated Electric Systems at Ural Federal University.

The scientists are sure that Russia has all the conditions and energy capacity for the development of small hydropower plants. Over 500 billion kWh per year can be generated with the help of small and micro hydroelectrical power plants.

“The number of small rivers in Russia is more than 2.5 million. Unfortunately, energy of rivers is used only for a quarter of possible, though development of power industry in foreseeable future is connected with it. We think that the main resource for the development of small and micro hydro power plants in Russia is concentrated in the regions of Far East, Arkhangelsk, Murmansk, Kaliningrad, Karelia, Tuva, Yakutia and Tyumen Oblast,” says Murodbek Safaraliev.

The developed software was tested in practice. The effectiveness of the program is confirmed. Now the researchers conduct the work on updating the database for calculation and selection of hydraulic turbines for small HPPs, which capacity is from 100 to 15 000 kW.

Employees of Ural Federal University, Kyrgyz State Technical University and Novosibirsk State Technical University took part in the study.

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