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The environmental flow describes the release water flow that a hydraulic derivation work must guarantee in the river or stream on which this work is built.
When the hydraulic barriers create a significant vertical drop in the water flow, there are the conditions to evaluate the hydroelectric exploitation of the available hydraulic energy.
The most common but not the only case is represented by dams. Therefore, the realization of a hydroelectric plant on environmental flows can be interesting.
This type of hydroelectric plants is characterized by a series of features that make them particularly interesting in terms of cost-benefit analysis:

  • Minimum environmental impact: these are derivations already existing, which are not altered in their characteristics
  • Ease of implementation: often most of the civil, electrical and plant engineering works will benefit from what has already been achieved for the existing barrier
  • Simplified bureaucratic procedure
  • Low investment costs

The prerogative of this type of plant to be characterized by medium or medium-low heads, between 15 and 50 m, makes them particularly suitable for the application of IREM Banki Ecowatt hydroelectric turbines.
In these hydroelectric plants it is, in fact, essential to install turbines of extreme simplicity and reliability, which optimize the plant performance by reducing the construction costs as much as possible.

The main advantages of IREM Banki Ecowatt Hydro turbine-generator groups are:

  • Excellent efficiency curve: high performance even at low flow rates.
  • Simplification of civil and hydraulic works: robustness and simplicity of the machine streamline the system.
  • Extreme reliability: the self-cleaning process of the wheel guarantees operation even in extreme conditions.
  • Simple, efficient and reliable flow regulation: consequent reduced maintenance, simplicity of use, possible presence of solid bodies of considerable size inside the water.
  • Possibility of electric servomechanisms: they guarantee advantages in terms of safety, reduced maintenance and reliability of the complete system.
  • Conformity with the Machinery Directive – CE conformity: the safety of the complete turbine-generator groups is guaranteed, being considered as a complete machine. Considerable relief of responsibility for designers, installers and plant managers.
  • Customized product resulting from industrial processes: IREM quality assurance!

Recent installations:

Place: central Italy
Type of hydraulic barrier: dam
Head: 21 [m]
Flow: 260 [l/s]
Hydroelectric plant: IREM Banki Ecowatt Hydro model “TBA 3/1 225SMA4 RE”

Place: central Italy
Type of hydraulic barrier: dam
Head: 22 [m]
Flow: 300 [l/s]
Hydroelectric plant: IREM Banki Ecowatt Hydro mod. “TBA 4/0.6 250M4 RE”

Place: central Italy
Type of hydraulic barrier: dam
Head: 25 [m]
Flow: 150 [l/s]
Hydroelectric plant: IREM Banki Ecowatt Hydro mod. “TBA 2/1.25 200L4 RE”

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