Electricity powered by drinking water? Ask the Scots
Sandnes-based company Zeropex has discovered how to make new renewable energy by exploiting water pipe pressure. Deliveries of equipment to Scottish Water are already underway in a contract worth between 200 and 400 million kroner.
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Whilst the worldwide potential for using this method to produce renewable energy is huge, Scotland’s wasted water pipe energy is equivalent to 9,000 Norwegian households’ power consumption.
At the same time, water-works companies use a lot of energy for cleansing and pumping, amongst other things. Zeropex’s invention utilises power that until now has gone to waste. General manager Tor Albert Ersdal tells Aftenbladet, “Our breakthrough came in 2011.”
Approximately six years ago, three people started exploring the possibility of mounting turbines onto drinking water pipes. They wanted to use the energy that occurs when water is “slowed” in the transition between large water pipes and the smaller distribution ones. Currently, the energy is “wasted” on noise, vibration, and heat.
Afraid we wouldn't come first
Zeropex has 10 employees today. Companies Energy Venture and Statoil Venture have come in on the ownership side in addition to its founders. Former British Energy Minister Colin Moynihan has recently joined the board following his election.
According to one of the company’s founders, Per Reidar Ørke, “I always knew the invention was sound, but was afraid we wouldn’t come first. I began subscribing to Dagens Næringsliv when we started to see if anyone else was doing the same. I don’t bother reading it anymore now, however, and relax, because we are alone.”
Tor Albert Ersdal estimates Zeropex will deliver equipment valuing 50 million kroner to Scottish Water over the next two years. The British water-works will recoup the cost in earnings in three to four, he believes.