The hidden powers of water – turning pumps into generators | Press Releases | DW | 16.06.2010
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The hidden powers of water – turning pumps into generators

Pump manufacturer KSB to present innovative river turbine at the Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum.

The Rhine River

The Rhine River

Nearly 18% of the world’s renewably sourced electricity is generated by hydroelectric power stations. But dams and manmade reservoirs also encroach upon humans, wildlife and natural habitats. A company based in south western Germany that specializes in making high-performance pumps is currently testing a solution that can use the power of the river without affecting its ecosystem.

Dieter-Heinz Hellmann, member of the KSB board of management, will present the operating principle of the new river turbine at this year’s Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum in Bonn, Germany. This year’s conference, entitled “The Heat is On – Climate Change and the Media”, will take place from June 21-23 in Bonn.

KSB engineers turned a basic principle on its head. Bchanging the direction of flow, a pump can be used as a turbine and vice versa. In other words, by introducing flow to a pump propeller in reverse, it begins rotating and turns the pump into a turbine. The motor then behaves like a generator and the pump produces electricity.

A seven-meter-long river turbine prototype has been operating since March 2010 in a tributary of the Rhine River near St. Goar, where it produces hydroelectricity without any disruptive dam constructions. Only a few buoys bob on the surface, indicating the location of the turbine. Initial tests have shown that the KSB turbine neither interferes with the river’s ecosystem nor impedes the migratory routes of fish.

Engineers at the KSB Group think that their innovation could revolutionize the use of hydropower. Trial operation is scheduled to take an ambitious plunge this summer when a single river turbine will be used to convert the currents of the Rhine into electricity to power ten households.

More than 50 individual events

In 2010, the Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum once again offers more than 50 events including podium discussions and workshops, interactive presentations and exhibitions, networking and interesting side events. It takes place at the World Conference Center Bonn, close to Deutsche Welle’s headquarters.

Deutsche Welle is cooperating with many different organizations for this interdisciplinary conference, including the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the International Human Dimensions Program on Global Environmental Change (UN IHDP/ESSP), EU Commission and the World Bank, the Wuppertal Institute, World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF), NABU and the Climate Alliance, the Institute for World Business Kiel, German Development Institute (DIE), the Center for Development Research (ZEF) and many others.

Co-host of the Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum is the Foundation for International Dialogue of the Sparkasse in Bonn. The convention is also supported by Germany’s Federal Foreign Office, the Family, Women and Integration Ministry of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, European Funds for Regional Development, the city of Bonn, DHL, the KSB Group and Faber-Castell.

June 16, 2010

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