The development of micro-hydropower could save millions of pounds for the water industry in the UK, new research findings from Bangor University and Trinity College Dublin have highlighted – with around £1 million a year saved in Wales alone.

The €1 million ERDF Ireland-Wales Programme (INTERREG IV)-funded research project investigated whether placing hydropower turbines within the water system could save the water industry, and water customers, money. The research looked at the current efficiency of water supply system, the best technology and how much it might cost, the environmental benefits, and which groups need to collaborate to enable the water industry to reap the greatest benefits from installing micro-hydropower into their systems.

The results proved positive, showing in Wales, for example, that Dwr Cymru Welsh Water could ultimately save a further £1 million every year by generating around 10MkWh of electricity using micro-hydropower. Similar potential savings were found for water companies in Ireland.

welcomed the project findings saying; "At Welsh Water we already make considerable use of hydro but this project has helped bring into focus where more could be done with the right technological developments," said Mike Pedley, Head of Energy from Dwr Cymru Welsh Water. "Equipment such as pressure reducing valves are common in all water companies’ networks but none has yet to offer a viable hydro solution for the majority of these sites."

The project partners now hope to take the initial findings further with the development and demonstration of new low-cost turbine technology. They are currently exploring regional and European funding in a bid to make Wales and Ireland world leaders in providing energy efficient water services to consumers. "The Hydro-BPT project has been insightful to say the least", said by Dr Prysor Williams, the project lead and Co-Investigator at Bangor University’s School of Environment, Natural Resources & Geography. "We hope to continue working with Trinity College Dublin, the water industry and other relevant stakeholders from across the EU in further projects that build on this work. There’s no doubt that the water industry is demonstrating an awareness of energy efficiency, and the work of the Hydro-BPT team can help them achieve a more sustainable future".

For more information, visit the Hydro-BPT website.