ASET Technology Alberta Fall 2020 - 30

P R OJ E C T

AC A D E M I C I N S T I T U T I O N

Alternative
energy project

Red Deer College
E N G I N E E R I N G T E C H N O L O GY D I S C I P L I N E

Electrical, instrumentation and
mechanical engineering technology

P R OJ E C T D E S C R I P T I O N
Ram pumps have been widely used through the ages, with
the earliest found usage by the Roman Empire as far back
as 250 BCE. Their simplistic design and production makes
ram pumps ideal for basic fluid pumping utilities. They are
used to pump water in remote areas where power may not
be available, or in areas that require water to be pumped to a
higher elevation. With recent needs to create clean energy,
these pumps are ideal for carbon footprint-free energy. If
used in conjunction with a Pelton wheel (a turbine used to
capture energy from flowing water), the ram pump can force
water up great heights that can then be released to generate energy.
Ram pumps work by using the natural flow of water to create
a water hammer effect. The water hammer creates backpressure in the ram pump, causing a cyclical pattern of two
effects. The first effect is the water speeds up in the drive
pipe while the waste valve is open. When the water hits a
certain speed, it will close the waste valve on itself, creating
this water hammer effect. The pressure generated from the
water hammer force opens the second valve, the delivery
valve, allowing the higher-pressure water to flow into the delivery pipe. Once the pressure in the pump starts to drop below the pressure in the delivery pipe, the delivery valve will
shut again, restarting the cycle. The only requirement to get
the ram pump started is to have flowing water entering the
drive pipe. This is accomplished by inserting the drive pipe
directly into flowing water, for instance a stream or river.
For our project, we fabricated a ram pump and a turbine assembly to generate electricity. We designed and built a ram
pump, then attached it to a reservoir to capture the pumped
water. The reservoir was mounted much higher than the
pump and water source, giving the water lots of potential
energy. When the water was released from the reservoir, it
flowed into a turbine that took the kinetic energy and converted it into electrical energy.

30 | FALL 2020 | TECHNOLOGY ALBERTA

In our initial research and design for this project, we found
plenty of examples of simple ram pump designs that incorporated the Pelton wheel for power generation. Our final design incorporated electronic valves leading to the pumping
device as well as from the reservoir, so we implemented the
following devices:
*	 two flow meters (for measuring water flow in the
system)
*	 pressure indicator (for monitoring the overall pressure
in the system)
*	 solenoid valve (water control on reservoir tank)
*	 microcontroller (controls all electronic devices)
*	 display (outputs data acquired by devices); and
*	 Pelton wheel (with a built-in generator).

The fabricated apparatus test and run indicated that we
successfully harvested the power of a running stream and
stored it in the elevated reservoir. When the energy was
needed, the accumulated water was directed to the Pelton
wheel to convert its kinetic energy to electricity. The proposed system produced no emissions or carbon footprint,
providing clean and reliable energy.



ASET Technology Alberta Fall 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ASET Technology Alberta Fall 2020

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ASET Technology Alberta Fall 2020 - Cover3
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/aset/ta_fall_2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/aset/ta_summer_2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/aset/ta_spring_2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/aset/ta_winter_2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/aset/ta_fall_2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/aset/ta_summer_2020
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https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/aset/ta_winter_2019
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https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/aset/ta_spring_2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/aset/ta_fall_dec2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/aset/aset55anniversary
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/aset/ta_spring_2018
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https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/aset/ta_fall_2017
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https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/aset/ta_winter_2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/aset/ta_fall_2016
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https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/aset/ta_spring_2016
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https://www.nxtbook.com/dawson/aset/ta_fall_2015
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