PESHAWAR: As people continue to reel under the power crisis that has plagued the province with an iron grip, five students from University of Engineering & Technology Peshawar’s mechanical engineering department have set out to find a solution.
They have initiated a new idea to generate power without building more dams.
As part of the project, they will utilise the flow of water or stream to generate a vortex which turns turbine to generate power. The Vortex Turbine Power System is currently being implemented in Germany.
UET students Faizan Ahmad Khan, Asfandyar Khalid, Haad Khan, Nabeel Ahmad and Khansa Anjum worked on this project for almost one-and-a-half years.
Efficient source of energy
While speaking to The Express Tribune, Faizan said low-lying rural areas are the most affected by the power crisis.
“Since most of these rural areas are situated near a river or a stream, a micro hydro project is the most effective method to provide power at a low cost,” he said. “This will decentralise power distribution to these areas.”
He added, “However, such projects have their limitations. Most of these power plants failed to deliver power output of acceptable efficiency of 60%. They are not reliable on returning the investment, which is why it does not draw the investors’ attention.” According to Faizan, the idea of gravitational water vortex power plant will produce an operating efficiency of 70%.
He maintained this will make it one of the most efficient, reliable, and quick sources of energy to remote areas. As a result, decentralising the power distribution reduces the burden on the national grid.
The students have assured that if the project is implemented on a larger scale, it is capable of generating power of up to 30 kW and more. Furthermore, they said the head requirement for this type of hydropower plant is low. It stands at 0.7m which makes it a viable option for low-lying plains where heads are considerably low for conventional hydro plants.
They added this type of hydropower plant is free from the problem of siltation and also it does not pose a threat to marine and aquatic life. The students have urged the provincial and federal governments to assist them financially as such projects need greater investment.
When contacted, Assistant Professor Dr Muhammad Alam Zaib Khan lauded the efforts of young students and expressed hope of launching the project. He stated, “The government should provide financial assistance for the project as it is the need of the hour.”
A micro hydro electric power normally produces up to 50kW of electricity using the natural flow of water. Such installations can help provide power to small communities and rural areas.
Hydro-electricity is the combination of water flow and vertical drop also known as ‘head’. The drop creates pressure and thus the continuous flow of water in a hydro system gives an ongoing source of pressurised liquid energy and the system converts energy into electricity. However, the idea of Vortex turbine power plant does not require any head.