Assessing the potential for energy recovery from the discharge of storm water run-off

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Costa, Joao 
Fenner, Richard A 
Kapetas, Leon 

A limited number of previous studies have explored the viability of energy recovery from storm water retention ponds and suggest that the potential for this is worth pursuing. This paper develops a novel screening tool for the evaluation of the energy recovery potential at a given storm water storage site and provides a new specific methodology for conducting a preliminary analysis to determine whether it is worth proceeding further in terms of subsequent detailed design and implementation. The application of the tool to two case studies highlights a number of critical dependent factors suggesting that energy recovery from storm water discharge is likely to be limited to locations that have abundant rainfall relatively evenly distributed around the year, a large contributing catchment and steep slopes. Scheme viability is judged by the revenue capable of being generated by the installation over a 20-year payback period. In both cases examined, the investment recovery was found to be low (3 and 14%). An envelope of where energy recovery might be feasible to provide a typical annual electrical output consistent with other viable micro-hydropower schemes is presented. The procedures can be of practical use to asset owners and local authorities where retention ponds are being planned.

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Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers - Engineering Sustainability
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ICE Publishing
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Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/P004431/1)
This research was performed as part of an interdisciplinary project programme undertaken by the Urban Flood Resilience Research Consortium funded by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council under grant EP/P004180/1.