Pump-as-Turbine Selection Methodology for Energy Recovery in Irrigation Networks: Minimising the Payback Period
Crespo Chacón, Miguel
Rodríguez-Díaz, Juan Antonio
García Morillo, J.
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In pressurized irrigation networks, energy reaches around 40% of the total water costs. Pump-as-Turbines (PATs) are a cost-effective technology for energy recovery, although they can present low efficiencies when operating outside of the best efficiency point (BEP). Flow fluctuations are very important in on-demand irrigation networks. This makes flow prediction and the selection of the optimal PAT more complex. In this research, an advanced statistical methodology was developed, which predicts the monthly flow fluctuations and the duration of each flow value. This was used to estimate the monthly time for which a PAT would work under BEP conditions and the time for which it would work with lower efficiencies. In addition, the optimal PAT power for each Excess Pressure Point (EPP) studied was determined following the strategy of minimising the PAT investment payback period (PP). The methodology was tested in Sector VII of the right bank of the Bembézar River (BMD), in Southern Spain. Five potential sites for PAT installation were found. The results showed a potential energy recovery of 93.9 MWh and an annual energy index per irrigated surface area of 0.10 MWh year−1 ha−1. Renewable energy will become increasingly important in the agriculture sector, to reduce both water costs and the contribution to climate change. PATs represent an attractive technology that can help achieve such goals.