- A low-cost micro-mechatronic turbine generates energy from water flow and provides sensor information on flow rates
- The design is suited for typical flow rate in residential faucets, ranging from 3 to 25 l/min
Information about water use at individual faucets enables many innovative services, ranging from legionella prevention, to consumption feedback, and behavioral interventions that can improve hand hygiene. The Internet of Things that would make such services possible has a slow start at the faucet and fitting industry. This is in part due to the lack of a suitable power supply at the point of use: Mains electricity supply in wet environments is tricky, whereas batteries need constant replacement and spoil the design of many faucets. Designing a miniaturized hydro-generator is a challenge due to many constraints, including size, drinking water compliance, pressure resistance, minimizing pressure drop, low noise, absolute leakage safety, lime protection etc.
The project involved numerical flow simulations, rapid prototyping, embedded system design, and agile software development.
We developed a very robust and simple mechanical turbine and generator design, consisting mainly of injection-molded parts by shifting a large part of the complexity from the hardware to the software. The module contains a controlled power source that can supply communication modules and displays. Moreover, it provides accurate flow and temperature information. The module went to mass production in 2011.
Generator arrangement and method for generating a generator voltage, Grant DE102009060617B4
Method for determining the resource consumption, Application DE102008039272A1
Arrangement for determination of e.g. consumption of cold water to display flow rates, Application DE102010022311A1
This project has been funded in parts by the Commission for Technology and Innovation and Amphiro AG
Date: 2009 - 2011
Thorsten Staake, Thomas Stiefmeier, Samuel Schöb, Vojkan Tasic, Elgar Fleisch
Academic Partners: Roger Waser, Thomas Staubli
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