This innovation is a result of a keen observation of hydro turbines. The conventional turbines are not fully submerged under the water body and so only half of the blades are used in producing the output at a time. Mr. Nripen Kalita of Assam observed this and got set to make a turbine in which all the blades will be used for generating the output simultaneously. The zero head hydro turbine made by Mr. Nripen needs to be fully submerged into the water so that all its blades can be used to transform the energy of moving water into the electrical energy.
The improved hydro turbine uses armature coil generator to produce electricity. It is a slow moving but high torque turbine. Nripen has made two models of the turbine. The first model is similar to the conventional one where the axis of the turbine is perpendicular to the water movement and the other one has its axis parallel to the water direction. Nripen’s turbines are twice more efficient than the conventional half immersing turbines and among his two models the second model i.e. with parallel axis is comparatively better in giving output.
Features and advantages of the zero head hydro turbine
This hydro turbine is compact and portable. It is a low cost turbine and its construction and installation cost comes around Rs. 8000 compared to Rs. 40000 for the micro hydroelectric power generator turbines.
With this turbine, one can generate electricity even in slow moving water body because it is twice as efficient as the conventionally designed turbines and so doesn’t require any dam to be built. This small hydro turbine can be used in both planes and mountains and its importance can be more visible in the rural areas where electricity is not available.
Recognition and support of the grassroots innovation
National Innovation foundation (NIF), a non profit autonomous body under the department of Science and Technology, Government of India has recognised this grassroots innovation. It has awarded the innovation – “zero hear water turbine”, in the state category of its biennial national competition for unaided green grassroots innovations and traditional knowledge. It has also filed a patent application for the zero head water turbine on behalf of the innovator.