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Xylem partners with Rentricity for hydroelectric energy project

Xylem, a global water technology company, has entered into an exclusive relationship with Rentricity, a US renewable energy company, to provide integrated water solutions for municipal, industrial, and irrigation applications that use excess pressure in water mains and convert it into renewable electricity. 

Rentricity uses hydrokinetic energy applications in potable drinking water distribution systems, industrial water systems, and irrigation systems to convert extra pressure within water lines into electricity instead of dissipating the extra pressure through valves.

The partnership has resulted in an NSF-certified suite of products called sustainable energy and monitoring systems (SEMS) that integrate Xylem’s centrifugal pumps with Rentricity control systems and services.

‘We’ve identified a sizeable market opportunity for modular plug-and-play configurations that can easily fit into any existing water operator's infrastructure with minimal engineering,’ says Frank Zammataro, CEO and co-founder of Rentricity.

SEMS are plug-and-play systems, requiring minimal mechanical engineering design, and are installed like typical pump packages in water pipe networks.

Within a SEMS, Xylem pumps operate in reverse, using existing water pressure and flow to turn an impeller, which, in turn, spins a small generator to create up to 30kW of electricity.

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has provided support to the technology, which seeks to help the state meet the clean energy goals set by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's Reforming the Energy Vision (REV), a strategy to build a clean, resilient, and affordable energy system for all New Yorkers.

Since recovered energy from water lines can be sold back to the grid, the solution provides industry professionals access to an additional source of revenue and a way to offset rising electricity rates.

In a pilot installation, SEMS were tested in the water distribution centre of the North Wales Water Authority (NWWA), which serves more than 25,000 people in 11 communities in northern Philadelphia.

Based on flows of 1,400 gallons of water per minute and a 23 pound per square inch of pressure within the NWWA water transfer station, the system is expected to generate 12kW of electricity, or the equivalent of $7,500 (appr. €6,650) per year in electricity generated instead of being purchased from outside sources.

The two companies are exploring possibilities for future integration of Xylem products into Rentricity systems such as smart sensors, and also leveraging Xylem’s expertise in monitoring and water quality technology.