Over the past two years, we have been focused on building a gravitational water vortex power plant at Green School.
A few words from Matthew Bell, team leader for the vortex project:
“She is a hydro electrical power generator, using gravity’s natural pull on water towards center of the earth, in that vortex then created we have a turbine. The swallowing capacity is 1.2 cubic meters a second, which relates to about 1.5 vertical meters of water in the rotation tank. That turbine drives a shaft which goes through a bearing system, then through a corolla and tapered thrust bearing system. This takes away any oscillation and takes the weight of turbine, which is approximately one ton. So the force generated by the water is directed through a drive shaft, which is coupled with a universal joint and lined to the generator shaft. Our generator is a 15 kw permanent magnet generator.
The beauty of the system is that is only requires 2 meters of head to have a rotation tank. Head relates t0 the amount of drop in water height, so we only need two meters to make this rotation happen and drive the turbine, where as a traditional hydroelectric plants needs about 17 meters of head.
Challenges? This is the first one we have ever built, so that was the main obstacle. Not actually knowing how to do it and having to make things up as we go; design, engineer, research and development all as we are trying to produce it. We went to Surabaya to get our shaft and bearing system fabricated up there, found a manufacturer who was capable of doing this precision work. We got everything plumb and flush and running really well. Was good to get this done, our system is running really nicely. We also didn’t know what sort of generator we needed, what sort of RPM we’d get, what sort of torque. So we had to make part of it and then test it, take that info and go out find a generator that suited us. It was a really good natural process though and I’m really glad it happened that way. “