USU Water Research Lab testing a water powered turbine

This hydrodynamic screw was designed and developed by Percheron Power of Kennewick, Wash., under a cooperative agreement supported by the U.S. Department of Energy. Engineers at the Utah State University Water Research Lab are testing the screw.

Engineers at Utah State University have been conducting full scale tests on a unique water-powered turbine since it was installed August 6 in a custom test rig in the Hydraulics Modeling Lab at the school’s Water Research Lab.

Lead engineer Michael Johnson spent several weeks performing tests. He said it was exciting to see water flowing through the new turbine and producing power.

“Some of the folks may be able to relate to some of the operations around grain elevators, where you have these screws enclosed in pipes that move grain from one level to the next,” Johnson explained. “It’s effectively like a screw inside of a trough and it has various flights, and that’s really the best way to describe it, is to take a look at a screw, with extended blades, I suppose.”

Dr. Johnson said the efficiencies in the turbine’s performance were in the 90 percent range, which is really good.

“That’s saying that this is doing a good job of getting the energy that’s available, stored in water at an elevation above some other elevation of water, and doing a good job of extracting that potential energy and putting it into an energy form that we can really use, which is electricity.”

Johnson said it is a tremendous compliment that Percheron Power of Kennewick, Washington, chose the USU Water Lab as its  partner in conducting its testing.

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