Innovators of long-term power storage RheEnergise have signed a turbine purchase contract to advance their demonstrator project near Plymouth.
From Turkish supplier Hydropower Engineering, RheEnergise will source the 500kW turbine and install it early next year at the Devon test site.
The device is a key component in RheEnergise’s proprietaryHD Hydro® system.
Designed to be dug into as many as 6,500 low UK hillsides, plus over 100,000 more in Europe alone, HD Hydro is – or so RheEnergise claim – scalable and more widely deployable than conventional pumped hydro, of the type that established at Engie’s Dinorwig’s 1.7GW ‘electric mountain’ in Snowdonia, or Drax Group’s 440MW ‘hollow mountain” at Cruachan in Bute & Argyll.
At times of low energy demand and thus cheap electricity, R-19™, RheEnergise’s proprietory high-density fluid is pumped uphill between underground storage tanks sunk into a low hillside. As energy prices rise, the benign fluid is released downhill and passes through turbines, generating electricity to supply power to the grid.
RheEnergise says in theory it can offer generating stations as small as 10MW, from vertical elevations of 100m or lower, or 2.5 times less than conventional hydropower drops.
RheEnergise’s analysis of potential project opportunities has indicated that North America houses 345,000 potential locations, and half a million more across Africa & the Middle East.
The firm’s supplier Hydropower Engineering draws on Turkey’s successful experience with conventionally sized turbines. The country’s mountainous landscape and many rivers make it a natural home for hydroelectricity. Over 700 hydropower plants make up about 30% of the country’s electricity generating capacity.
Today’s deal with its Turkish turbine supplier follows RheEnergise’s agreement in August with British firm Mercia Power Response to examine the feasibility of getting 100MW of HD Hydro into commercial operation by 2030, utilising Mercia’s existing grid connections in the UK.
RheEnergise CEO & co-founder Stephen Crosher, pictured, heralded the turbine order as “an important milestone in our efforts to deliver our demonstrator project.
“The expansion of the long duration energy sector, and using new technologies like our HD Hydro storage system, is vital as the UK and other countries are placing a greater reliance on wind and solar to meet their future energy needs and to achieve Net Zero.”
Caglar Cinar of Hydropower Engineering (HPE) said: “We are excited to be given the opportunity to work with RheEnergise in a new and innovative part of the international hydro sector. Given that their HD Hydro system can be deployed in many more locations than conventional forms of hydro, and quickly too, we see our turbine order from RheEnergise as a first of many”.