Energy-Autarkic Water Metering

Research Highlights

- 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

 

Challenge

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. 

 

Approach

The project involved numerical flow simulations, rapid prototyping, embedded system design, and agile software development. 

 

Results

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.

Selected Patents

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 

 

Funding

This project has been funded in parts by the Commission for Technology and Innovation and Amphiro AG

Date: 2009 - 2011

 

Team

Thorsten Staake, Thomas Stiefmeier, Samuel Schöb, Vojkan Tasic, Elgar Fleisch

Academic Partners:  Roger Waser, Thomas Staubli


ALL projects on Digitalization for Water and Heat Management

Energy-Autarkic Water Metering

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