The technology behind the Benkatina in-pipe turbine is multifactorial. We have unique combinations of blades, nozzle and blade ratios, air compression, sensors, rpm, controls, and more that make a turbine adapt to this unique environment of limited space and variable flows. One of the most important parts is the use of an air bubble to prevent interference of the water with the blades.
We use computational fluid dynamics modeling to design the right ratios for our turbines. Our next level of development, beginning soon, is to add software algorithmic control and make this a smart hydroelectric turbine.
We will develop those components using CFD-based algorithms in conjunction with a control and software system to make a higher efficiency turbine that better regulates pressure and responds to variable flow rates while integrating into a larger grid.
A great product is not just great technology; it is also great engineering. Our staff works personally with each customer's parameters to make the best solution. for a particular installation.
The company uniquely addresses the need for piping systems to (1) use only the excess pressure, and (2) to maintain high efficiency in the face of variable flows.
Traditional hydroelectric turbine systems operate on two assumptions, among others: that the flow rate is stable, and that the entire potential energy or pressure can be extracted with no care for what happens after the turbine. They operate at efficiencies around 90% at very high flow rates. They have been built as part of dams which cause large ecological damage and are generally economically viable only as large projects. They also lose the elevation drops of their feeder streams.
This model is not appropriate for piping and other systems where flow rates vary (water use varies with time of day and season of the year, among other factors) and pressure downstream from the turbine must be regulated so the water system can function. A requirement for dealing with the variable flow rate is that it should produce efficient power over a range of flow rates.
Leviathan's Benkatina is the only turbine that addresses the two issues mentioned above, and will address them more thoroughly as part of the development of this product. As such, it has already achieved high efficiency at low flows (55% at 1 kilowatt of output, 61% at 5 kilowatts of output). The efficiency curve is fairly stable over a range of flow conditions away from its maximally efficient flow rate.
None of the competition addresses these two issues unique for piping systems.
The major competition is running pumps in reverse. Pumps can achieve around 60% efficiency but only in a narrow band of flow at their design point and that is not realistic for a piping system. This can only work with uniform flow rates and does not regulate the downstream pressure.
Another type of competition is propeller type in-pipe turbines. The maximum theoretical efficiency for a horizontal axis turbine is 59% according to the Betz equation; and the usual efficiency achieved is around 30%. Vertical axis turbines can achieve up to 15-20%.