Internal Hydro International has submitted a proposal for the placement of 40 units of its Energy Commander V (EC V) 30kW low impact hydro units with the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) for the W. Kerr Scott dam site on the Yadkin river in North Carolina, US.

With a planned minimum 1.2MW output, the projected annual revenue from the site is US$750,000. Internal Hydro says the proposal will be a basis for other multi-set units to be installed in more than 70,000 non-electricity producing dams in the US. According to the company, thousands of these sites could be equipped to use the EC system, where traditional turbine systems have never been able to run due to the low-head.

With only just over a 19m drop at W. Kerr Smith dam, Internal Hydro’s proposal is for a bank of forty 30kW units contained in a single structure to operate at between 30 and 40 psi. It will work with USACE to complete the submission process and a revenue sharing plan.

‘This will not be a first entry point for units, since those will be nearly instant at other private locations,’ said Craig A Huffman, CEO and President of Internal Hydro, ‘but it will show the Corps and other dam owners that we can do things with low head hydro, including potentially thousands of dam sites sitting there with wasted energy, and start producing electricity where ordinary turbines would not have worked.’

Unlike turbines, the positive displacement system of the Energy Commander utilises cylinders and a patented controller valve to take in a low pressure flow, through a small inlet, using all the flow inside the cylinders to create mechanical forces for a generator. The system can be expanded or contracted by the number of 12 cylinder slices to match the available flow pressure.