Impact Hub Manila Fellowship

STREAM ENERGY: More Water, More Power

Electricity in the Philippines is too costly that it can be prohibitive to progress. In manufacturing, energy is a major input and its high cost has discouraged investments and potential job-generation. In retail, too, energy bills cut into business margins and tend to pass the bills on to consumers. Quite burdensome. In fact, electricity in progressive countries cost only 2-3% of per capita income, whereas this figure in the Philippines is 11-12% of income. Our shared challenge then is to reduce energy costs to free up savings for other endeavors.


 In addition, our country is frequently hit by natural disasters such as earthquakes, typhoons, and floods. These calamities leave our fellow Filipinos literally in the dark since, unfortunately, power is one of the things that is first to go - and hardest to restore. Institutions that are in dire need of an energy source during such events such as hospitals, City Halls, and Schools that are used as evacuation centers are most vulnerable and need to have some level of electricity to keep functioning.  


Understanding the problem, we see expensive power as structural, owing to an archipelagic country that makes power transmission challenging and a regulatory framework that weakens incentives for power plants. As a result, we see increased adoption of wind and solar power, independent of the national power grid and miniaturized for practical installation in buildings.


 Yet even with wind and solar, customers still express a problem, in that these alternative energy sources require favorable weather conditions and that electricity generated is not constant. It is this specific challenge we wish to address. With Micro-HydroTurbine or MHT, not only will clients save on electricity bills, but they shall gain a reliable stream of energy. 

Who faces this problem?

At our startup phase, our primary customers will be urban building establishments that have an average of at least 300 cubic meters (300,000 liters) per month water consumption. While any building or house with a water flow (average household at 30 cubic meters per month) can generate electricity with the MHT, we feel that we can build market credibility and a clearer demonstrable case for financial savings by concentrating on medium to large establishments. These include hospitals, schools, malls, condominiums, office buildings and factories.  

(1.) SAVINGS

As our team was able to research, we saw that the primary concerns of the institutions mentioned above (hospitals, schools, malls, residential developments, factories, etc.) strongly gravitate toward reducing overhead costs (increased bottom-line). Mentioned earlier is how electricity takes 11-12% of income on average for businesses and for households, compared to our neighbors where it is on average at 4%. 

(2.) RELIABILITY

Also mentioned above is our customer's need for a reliable source of electricity, especially in manufacturing and in the services industry. As our country is having difficulty keeping up with the electrical demand of our growing economy, searching for a supplemental/back-up source becomes all the more crucial.

(3.) SECURITY

This is a pain-point that is very close to our heart. Disaster response during times of calamity is a paramount concern to both the public and private individuals. Institutions like hospitals, evacuation areas, and government command MUST stay functional. One of the needed requirements to maintain this status is continuous electricity. Even during times where there is no disaster, government institutions find it a balancing act to remain within budget while at the same time providing adequate security by having proper lighting in streets, or having functioning CCTV's. Sometimes, the budget doesn't allow for this. 

(4.) SHIFT TO GREEN

There is currently a strong surge among local bldg designers/admins to have as minimal impact to environment as possible. LEED & BERDE are fantastic samples. The field of RESIDUAL ENERGY is also a largely untapped but very promising area which has yet to get as much attention as Solar and Wind systems 

How does your idea address this problem?

Our product is the Micro-Hydro Turbine System or MHT for short. It utilizes the water consumption of large buildings such as Malls, hospitals, schools, residential developments, and buildings involved in manufacturing. It needs to be noted that this water being utilized by the device is already being consumed by the building, and our device does not add to their water consumption, and is present in all the said buildings. 

(1.) SAVINGS

Large institutions such as Schools, hospitals, residential developments and malls spend substantial amounts on electricity and water. Our device, the MHT would harness the water flow within their water plumbing via a micro-turbine system. The electricity generated can be (1) used in combination with the electricity from the power company, or (2) thru a NET METER, transmit the recovered energy back to the power company; both scenarios reducing electrical costs to the institution. As an example, an average sized hospital consumes 20,000 Cu of water (20,000,000Li) each month. Using our turbine system would allow the production of 2,500KWH/Mo, or roughly a savings of P25,000 a month if the electricity is recycled by the building. 

(2 & 3.) RELIABILITY AND SECURITY

Our MHT device is by all intents and purposes, a generator. Energy generated from the water flow of the various institutions can be stored in a battery system, in lieu of a Net Meter. During times when electricity is unstable or is out completely, the stored energy can be called upon to provide supplemental electricity. Using the earlier example of the standard hospital's consumption of 20,000Cu a month, energy stored from a single day's consumption (650cu), can light up around 400 to 500 5watt light bulbs for 24 hours, if there is minimal loss in the storage in batteries. This electricity, without exaggerating, can be life-saving and a source of hope.

(4.) SHIFT TO GREEN

Our product will help building designers and administrators reduce their carbon footprint. We know that here in the Philippines, one of the primary sources of electricity is from coal. Our product uses only the residual energy from the water consumption. This source of power is present already in these buildings and only needs to be harnessed. If buildings adopt our device, not only will they reduce consumption from coal-generated electricity, but get a renewed appreciation of the water already consumed by the said buildings. Imagine, the water one uses to wash one's hands contributed in lighting up the bulbs in the comfort rooms!   

What’s new and unique about your idea?

The concept behind our product, hydro-power, is actually quite old. As early as the time of the Greeks, turbines have been in existence (e.g. Archimedes screw). And more than a hundred years ago, it has seen application in the generation of electricity (e.g. Dams). Simply put, the science behind it is on very solid ground. This is a testament to the proof of concept, on top of the several prototypes already tested. 

Where we differ from the others is in the application and the simplicity of our device. In recent years, the need to improve urban living conditions has allowed for greater water pressure available in our water systems, therefore allowing the feasibility of turbine applications in the building's tap water system. As several members of the team have spent time in the water utility industry, we are very familiar in the large sample of buildings that not only have strong pressure, but also have substantial water consumption, such as malls, hospitals, residential developments, etc. Simply put, we can use as an analogy that these buildings are waterfalls whose power can be harnessed. 

It is important to note that there is also a lack of attention in the sub-field of residual energy, When people think of alternative energy, the first thing that comes to mind is either solar or wind, overshadowing the potential of micro-hydroelectricity. This has allowed our group to have very few, if any, competitors in this field. Now compared to solar and wind, our device does not need favorable weather conditions to function properly. The MHT uses something more reliable which is the water consumption of the host institutions.Furthermore, hydro, compared to wind and solar, is much more efficient in the production of electricity, making it a cheaper alternative.

The device also does not need external exposure and only takes a small space  unlike solar and wind, making the maintenance of the device much more affordable, and non-disruptive to the building's architectural intent.

How are you going to earn money?

One of our strong points is the ability to be a very viable business model. As mentioned in the portions above, the incentive of reducing overhead costs, in electricity specifically, is very appealing. Compared to solar and wind systems, ours is also substantially attractive due to the fact that our manufacturing costs are cheaper, due to the relative simplicity of the concept.

As a market sample set, data provided by Maynilad on its clients in the public and private sectors reveal there are 1,275 covered buildings. Altogether these buildings consume an average of 2.6 million cubic meters per month. With the MHT’s priced at P50,000 per unit and Maynilad’s market share close to 50%, we estimate our Metro Manila market size to be P127.5 million. This translates to a potential 581,600 KwH of power generated for a potential monthly savings of Php6.40million.

With a team member active in property development & brokerage, we plan to start marketing to condo corporations. Data from Colliers reveals there are 992 residential condos in Metro Manila, representing an initial Php49.6 million market segment size.

In a nutshell, the market potential, coupled with the attractiveness of our product, is very hard to ignore. 

Do you already have customers?

No, we do not have customers as of the moment, as we believe it is important not to rush the process and deliver a premature product.

Despite this, we have already created several prototypes, two of which already are large-scale (steel). We have already attracted the attention of several prospective customers, most notably an LGU, and a large Ice-Cream plant.

Several tours to these institutions solidified our position that this is a venture worth going into. 

Who is in your team?

I am very proud to say that our team is composed of members that have close to 20 years combined experience in the water utilities industry; making the team no strangers to the subject matter. 

The team is composed of 3 core members:

Justin Victor dela Cruz - Stanford scholar and has several years experience in real estate and development, as well as founder of several social-entrepreneurship projects.

Eng. Praveen Kittur. MBA -  An Water utilities Engineer for several years in his native India, and recently completed the MBA program at Asian Institute of Management.

Rafael dela Cruz - Is currently the Head of Market Research for a local water utility company and is also a marketing practitioner.

Have you already founded/incorporated your company?

No

What is the intended positive impact on the environment and/or society of your venture?

It might seem as we are overreaching, but we believe that our Start-Up can help in Nation-Building. 

Beyond the possible financial gains which our team firmly believes we can make, we can help a country that is starving for electricity.As we envision our product to provide cheap and accessible electricity, we see people and institutions maximizing their potentials after being unshackled/unburdened by high electrical costs; not just for private, but also for government who has a huge chunk of its budget tied to utilities payment. Freed from this burden, this means additional expenditures for other projects that could make a difference as well.

It also means that during times of calamity, there is hope - that when typhoons roll in the night, not everything is pitch black for there are light bulbs working; power whose being supplied by our device.

Finally, we believe that our product could help in the push towards alternative energy for the country. We firmly believe that our product can provide supplemental electricity generated from a clean source; minimizing dependence on coal-fueled power-plants.

Not only does our product not give off any harmful emissions, but use residual energy already present in our tap water systems. Again, this gives us an additional appreciation for the water that we are already consuming via the tap. 

How will the Fellowship Program enable you to achieve your ambitions?

As we are firmly a hardware-centric start-up, both funding and contacts are valuable resources which the fellowship could offer; not to mention mentorship which we believe would be priceless.

As we already have several interested parties in our product, our team wishes to go beyond proof of concept prototypes and into high efficiency Minimum Viable Products (MVP's). In three year's time, we believe we can be able to export our product and be competitive in neighboring urbanized countries. 

Are you living in the Philippines?

Yes

edited on 5th July 2016, 06:07 by Rafael Inigo dela Cruz

Deesha Chandra Jul 4, 2016

This is a great submission Rafael. Could you see potential collaboration with fellow applicants? For example One Watt? https://impacthubmanila.crowdicity.com/post/254349

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Rafael Inigo dela Cruz Jul 5, 2016

Thank you for the vote of confidence in our proposal!

Collaboration work is always welcome with our group, especially since we are hitting similar customer pain points thru different methods. At the end of the day, it is all about improving the lives of people; if collaborating would make our products better, faster, stronger for the end-users, why not? :)

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Priya Thachadi Jul 13, 2016

This is really very interesting and a unique value proposition! Given your experience, I assume you understand the market well :-)

Just curious to know if you have validated this with urban establishments? Have these potential customers been open minded about the product.

Good luck and will keep an eye on your progress :-)

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Rafael Inigo dela Cruz Jul 14, 2016

Good morning, Priya; we appreciate your interest in our start-up!

On market validation, I am happy to report that a lot of large establishments have already contacted us and is awaiting our Minimum Viable Product (MVP). As a Market Researcher myself, we saw that there is significant market demand, especially with the Local Gov't, and Industrial sector. We were also able to, from my time as a Key Accounts Manager in our local water utilities, see that there are more than 4,000 viable buildings (bldgs with the minimum water consumption) possible for implementation in Urban Metro Manila alone.

On product validation, we were very lucky to have been provided assistance by the water utility company to use their laboratory for product testing and we are continuously working to improve the design. We were also able to do several tests together with the LGU (installing our product to a Zoo) and do site visitations and customer inputs from industrial plants such as a major ice cream plant.

I must be honest with you though that since we are a hardware start-up, despite very high interest by prospective customers, cash-burn is quite high and is a major reason why development is quite slow.

Please feel free to check our PDF file to check our prototype designs, view the link below, or to ask additional questions in this thread :)

http://www.ideaspacefoundation.org/stream-energy.html

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Jérémy Callegher Jul 14, 2016

Hey Rafael!

Good to finally see you here. Awesome idea! Question tho: this is easy to implement for buildings under construction but what about an already finished building? Is it possible for the owner to easily add your solution to the existing water system?

Cheers!

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Rafael Inigo dela Cruz Jul 14, 2016

Thank you for the invitation!

Good question; yes, the installation is rather simple and can be installed in already existing structures. Not to be technical with the subject matter, the installation of the hardware can be (1) after the water meter and before the receiving/cistern tank, or (2) via gravitational assistance, a distance from the elevated tank. Pipes are usually installed in segments and installing the segment where the MHT would be placed, a "Pipe Flange" will be included, (together with a gate-valve) making our device technically almost "plug-and-play. This feature is a big positive since it eases monitoring and maintenance.

For high-rises especially, it is common building practice that the main waterline runs exposed throughout the length of the building's emergency stairwells for monitoring purposes; and it would not take much effort by our technical team to install in the evenings or when water can be shut down for a few hours.

The advantage which I can see buildings in the planning stage is that you don't need to plan around when the tenants of the building will use water since there are none yet :)

I have attached a picture of our prototype running thru its paces during testing where the flanges are exposed :)

We appreciate your inquiries, and do let us know if you have more!

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Matt Jaeggi Jul 19, 2016

Hey, I actually have heard of similar solutions in Europe - which is great news! Have you done research on what's the state of the art in the industry? Would be interesting to know. Otherwise I can try to put you in contact with some people who might know more.
Keep it up :)

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Rafael Inigo dela Cruz Jul 22, 2016

Hi Matt!

First off, I apologize for the delay in reply; my wife just gave birth this week.

I am elated to know that you are familiar with the concept, and that other people are trying to utilize the potential of hydroelectricity in other continents. With the boom of solar and wind into the mainstream, hydro in the urban is often overlooked despite its potential - with your help, we plan to change that! :)

On researching on our industry, I am happy to let you know that we are following the trends, especially the ones in North America closely (G.E. & Portland Or. projects most notably). We also have done several meetings with DOST-MIRDC, and have been refining the concept further with the assistance of a University Faculty in Engineering. But to tell you the truth, this is not enough. We would definitely welcome other people's input on how to better enhance the concept, and would be very appreciative if you could help us network with the right people.

Thank you for your support!

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Kyle Bo Jul 18, 2016

Hi Rafael. I like the the way you think. Finding alternative sources of energy is always a noble cause.

However, have you consulted with a Physics major or a mechanical engineer regarding this idea? If not, I'd like to raise an issue about it. If yes, please discuss with him / her what I'm about to explain.

The issue is that this idea has a similar pitfall as the perpetual motion machine concept. You see, the Law of Conservation of Energy states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed. It can only be converted from one form to another. In this idea's case, the issue is that all the energy that the system harnesses will in fact come from electricity that's already generated and coming from the electric grid. Specifically:
* The energy that will be harnessed from the MHT at the top of the building will come from kinetic energy of flowing water. That flow is from potential energy due to the water's height. That in turn, just came from kinetic energy of running water in the pipes going upward. That kinetic energy in turn, came from the pump. And the energy from the pump came from electricity from the grid. If you actually run an experiment with your system, you will find out that in order to maintain water pressure at the top floors, you'll need to run the pump at higher power after you install the MHT as compared to before installation. And that difference in power will be equal to the power you harness at the MHT assuming no energy loss across the entire pipe system.
* The energy that will be harnessed from the MHT after the water meter will come from the kinetic energy of running water in the pipes of the water utility company. That in turn, came from the water utility's pumps, which in turn comes from electricity consumed by the utility company. Actually, as soon as several industries start installing this system, the utility company will see a drop in water pressure all across their pipe system. And they will have to increase the pumping to maintain enough pressure to provide water distribution across all their customers. This means additional electric consumption for them. That additional electric consumption has energy equal to the total energy produced across all the MHT systems installed by the various industries.

As counter-example, all sources of energy that we convert to electricity today have their roots from solar energy, with the exception of geothermal which comes from the earth itself. Here are a few examples:
* Wind turbines are moved by the kinetic energy of the wind. The wind moves because there is an energy difference between areas of high pressure and areas of low pressure. That pressure difference in turn, is due to the low pressure area getting more heat from the sun compared to the high pressure area.
* Hydroelectric comes from kinetic energy of falling water. And that kinetic energy came from the potential energy the water gained from being precipitated at high ground. And high ground precipitation is due to the vapor being moved up to the sky by continuous absorption of heat from the sun. Even the vaporization process is due to water being heated by the sun.
* Even coal and oil are stored solar energy. The energy that they convert to heat when burned is chemical energy stored by the organisms that lived millions of years ago which again got their energy from the sun back then - plants get it directly whereas animals get it indirectly via other organisms.

Anyway, I think a Physics major or a mechanical engineer would be able to explain this far better than I could. I tried explaining this to someone who suggested the same idea to me in the past. Unfortunately, he was unable to grasp it as I'm bad at explaining. So, I suggest discussing what I tried to explain with an expert who's good at communicating or teaching.

In any case, I wish you can come up with a more viable source of energy. Our planet needs people like you who are actively trying to find alternative energy sources.

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Rafael Inigo dela Cruz Jul 18, 2016

Hi Kyle!

Thank you for your feedback! :)

To start things off, I agree with you 100% and I do get the same set of questions from time to time. Let me assure you that our device does not go against any of the basic principles of physics and I do get your point.

A good example of these erroneous proposals are those that aim to place wind turbines in vehicles to produce electricity. These would provide wind resistance and would actually be counter-productive.

Ours as you have noticed uses the water pressure from the tap system and it is very important to note that the MHT device be placed (1) after the meter and before the building's water cistern, and (2) on the down stream after the elevated tank. Let me point out why these are important:

**Background* Our target market, large water consuming buildings, have three very important features already installed to be able to properly deliver water (most especially in regard to high rises) - a cistern, a water pump and an elevated tank. If the high consuming building does not have these devices, their water supply system would not work - especially for the higher floors.

So let's trace the movement of water thru a sample highrise building (pictured) - water comes from the water utility company delivered on an average of 30-40PSI thru the water meter & valve, then after a few feet, comes to a halt to near zero flow at the water cistern where it awaits transportation to the elevated tank via a pump to replenish supply. It is important to note that the water alone from ground level would not reach the upper floors without the aid of a water pump, usually pumping between intervals of filling. From the elevated tank, water utilizes gravity to deliver water to the lower floors, like, as you mentioned, a waterfall when water is being consumed.

(1) The reason why the MHT device can be placed between the water meter and the cistern is that there is an excess amount of pressure available. MWSS requires the local utility companies to maintain at least 7PSI available for customers (7PSI is the average PSI level needed to adequately supply 1 floor).The Local Utility companies exceed this requirement by at least 18PSI. This is excess available pressure because the water will achieve zero-flow upon reaching the cistern and would have no other viable use for pressure anyway due to storage purposes only.
This does not disrupt the function of delivering water as the pump delivers to the elevated tank in regular intervals usually 20 minutes or upon needed refill, therefore the cistern always has water pooled. Imagine drinking from a cup via a straw. Though it is true that water pressure would drop between the water meter and cistern due to the insertion of a turbine, the excess pressure is more than sufficient to accommodate this.

(2) The MHT can also be installed on the down end after the elevated tank to utilize gravity. Think of waterfalls. This is highly beneficial because, A) Movement of water does not need any aid, and B) as water flows downwards, pressure also increases . That last portion (B) is precisely the reason why the use of Pressure Regulating Valves (PRV's) are placed in regular flow intervals (basically a bent pipe) - to reduce water hammering and dangerous water pressures at the lower floors. In fact, as our product does the same task of reducing excess pressure, it is analogous to the PRV and can also be an alternative to this, plus the ability to produce electricity.

The reason why we are confident about the physics behind the concept is (1) several members of the team were employed for several years in the water utility industry, including an Engineer, a researcher and a Key Accounts Manager (2) We have worked with a teaching faculty at the College of Engineering at the UP, (3) had several dialogues with DOST - Metals Industry Research and Development Center, and (4) had a working prototype field tested at a pilot building. Right now though, despite the concept being anchored on solid physics, the goal we are focusing right now is increasing efficiency.



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Kyle Bo Jul 18, 2016

Ahh, I see. So your system simply "harvests" back wasted kinetic energy. However, wouldn't it be more efficient to just control the pump at the ground floor of the building dynamically (i.e. don't generate excess pressure on the first place)? But anyway, that's not a big issue as any system that reduces waste energy is not too bad. In that case then, the MHT at the top of the building would not be bad since it simply replaces the PRVs. And instead of being a passive dampener, it becomes an active harvester of the excess pressure.

However, I still have an issue with putting the MHT after the water meter. Yes it will harvest energy, no doubt about that. But, doing so reduces the pressure in the distribution pipes of the utility company. And their pumping system would most likely respond by increasing power output to maintain the 30-40 PSI. If enough of industries would adopt the system, the electric consumption of the utility company would skyrocket. I guess my point is that putting an MHT after the water meter is just like stealing the energy from the utility company and having it harvested at that MHT.

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Rafael Inigo dela Cruz Jul 18, 2016

Hi Kyle! :)

yes, actually our product is more in line with the Residual Energies Field Subgroup. :)

On the suggestion controlling the pump to reduce excess pressure (water-hammering), unfortunately, the water pump has no influence on the pressure going down from the elevated tank. Similar to most cisterns (they have similar designs), they are controlled by float switches making them already active and have zero flow if there is no consumption and minuscule PSI once water enters these containments (see attached pic). Even without the use of pumps though, water hammering will occur especially for tall buildings hence standard building practices suggesting the use of PRV's every 3-4 floors to maintain manageable levels of pressure.

On your second point where there would be larger operating costs on the part of the Water Utility Companies (WUC), I believe it would be the other way around where the WUC would be minimizing expenditures. In my time in the local WUC, one of the larger issues being faced by such companies is trying to maintain water pressure integrity in the main pipes (from plant up to right before the meter). This is because if the WUC has adequate pressure in the mains, it means areas that are elevated like hillsides or houses with 2-4 floors can be supplied. WUC's pumping stations make supply to those areas possible. But due to illegal connections, pipe breakages, old pipes, and the density of water users in areas, these mean additional stress to the pumping stations just to compensate for the pressure lost from them. The turbine concept which we are proposing will indeed reduce the pressure on the customer's side (after the MHT), but in turn increase pressure prior to the device due to the resistance by the turbine in the flow of fluid. Increased pressure before the device equals more pressure in the main lines, equals less effort on the pumping stations, equals savings for the WUC in terms of operating costs.

Also, the practical use of water from the Tap system is roughly from 7 to 20 PSI. In excess of this would be subject to wastage. We currently have service levels and areas being supplied at 30 to 40 PSI. Both the water consumer and the WUC would be interested in reducing water wastage. For the customer, just the proper amount of water used equals savings. For the WUC it means proper corporate responsibility for a finite resource (supply management), and that there is equitable use of water.

Tying together all the items in the second point is a analogy which I've come to use very often. That is of the High School Gym Shower installation. When several showers are fully throttled on, everyone has doesn't get enough supply. But when one decides to throttle the shower controls just enough, pressure increases aiding the others.

We do hope We were able to shed some light on your concerns.

We appreciate that you're able to delve deep into the technical aspects of our product :)

Do let us know if there are further questions; customer/stakeholder insights are always welcome!

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Kyle Bo Jul 20, 2016

Understood with regards to the top MHT.
But for the MHT after the water meter, I'll again invoke the Law of Conservation of Energy. If you harnessed the energy at that point, it means you took it from the source. There is no other possible source of that energy in between the WUC's pump and the MHTs. The increased pressure before the turbine is only there because the WUC's pumps had to work harder. So, I still stand by my second point.

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Rafael Inigo dela Cruz Jul 21, 2016

Hi Kyle!

I don;t think we are violating any portion of natural physics nor hydrodynamics since our concept has been reviewed time and again by DOST-MIRDC, academe, and water utility engineers.
I am left with the assumption that the concept is a bit too technical that it needs a simpler explanation. I requested our engineer to provide the simplest way of explaining the concept:

Imagine a straw, a tubular body where fluid travels from A to B.

Let air be our fluid.

Let the blowing of air from your mouth be constant.

unimpeded, when you blow from point-A of the straw, the first half of the straw would have the same or close to the same pressure at point-B prior exit.

impressing a bit on the middle of the straw on the other hand would do two things: (1) reduce the amount of pressure on point-B, and (2) increase pressure on point-A

you can try a variety of how much you place resistance in the middle of the straw with the same consistent force exerted by you blowing, the result is the same: increased pressure in A, reduced in B.

Now, let your mouth be the pumping stations exerting the same amount of effort, the straw as the pipe system (or the area between the meter and the cistern to further simplify), and our MHT as the resisting element.

with our concept, there would always be greater pressure on the side prior the resisting element. This would benefit the WUC because of pressure integrity.

There is a wonderful beginner's video on Bernoulli's equation which ties it together with Conservation of Energy on youtube ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ytCuHh5PwwY ) .

I believe what you're trying to communicate though is that "it is impossible to increase prior point-A, while point-B maintains status-quo pressure, without increasing force from the pump.". Am I correct with this?

As I've hope you did not miss what I wrote earlier, pressure would definitely drop after the MHT as we plan to harness the excess/unnecessary pressure in the pipe system.

As I have tried to communicate earlier, excess pressure leads to excess water consumption. This is not wanted by both the consumer (due to increased costs) and by the WUC's (due to the need to make sure that there is enough water supply for everyone). Every drop counts. As this is an endeavor together with the WWF where there must be equitable use of resources, and also where both the customers and the WUC's and customers can save, it is a concept that has a very high ceiling.

Thank you again for your comments, and do let me know if further clarifications do arise again. :)

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King Karl Seroje Jul 26, 2016

Hi Rafael,

Im a physics graduate at NIP. I have a little concern about this project, though it's a wonderful concept. You're initially right, water utility does not necessarily have to spend more energy to turn the turbines in your MHT. I had been thinking it a lot since energy conservation law prohibits your purpose. But you're right. You can visualize it using two cases: 1.) opening your tap and let the water strike on the open ground; 2.) Put your MHT at the point on the ground where the water strikes. While the second case allows you to extract some energy from the MHT, the two cases have the same energy expenditure in utility pumps.

However, the device seems counter-productive at all. Let's consider the positions where the MHT will be installed:

1. MHT installed after water meter and before receiving tank.
This results in decreased water pressure before entering the pump, which leads to higher pressure gradient between pump down-stream (going out from pump) and up-stream (coming into pump). In this case, your pump needs to exert more effort to pump water. Assuming in the ideal world where friction is not present, the amount of extra energy your pump had to exert is equal to the energy you extract using MHT. However, in real world where everything is not 100% efficient, your pump's extra effort is higher than the energy you extracted. Counter-productive.

2. MHT installed at the downstream of elevated tank.
This is a great idea, you mimic the hydro-electric power plants located at the foot of waterfalls. However, to power your MHT using gravity, you need a significant height difference between your elevated tank and MHT. Recall that as the water falls downstream from the elevated tank, the potential energy is slowly converted into kinetic energy, until the water reaches the ground where the gravitational potential energy is full converted into kinetic energy. That's why hydro-electric generator turbines are located at the lowest possible position to have the maximum kinetic energy. But in your case, the MHT is installed at the top-most floor so you can still exploit the water flow at the top floors. That isn't going to work since you do not have significant kinetic energy yet at the point of MHT. You can harness the maximum kinetic energy at the lowest floor, but your water flow is limited. So you need to compute the optimum floor level where the MHT should be installed such that there is a balance between water flow volume and kinetic energy conversion. But still that results in quite insignificant energy generation.

I'm also interested in your project. I'm finding ways on my own on where to install the system. If I find a promising location, I'll let you know so you may consider it (maybe).

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Rafael Inigo dela Cruz Jul 26, 2016

Good afternoon, King!

Thank you on your thoughts on the matter, and we appreciate someone with a technical background taking a look at our concept.

On your first point, I can understand and see why you would think that way. It would almost be correct but and unfortunately cistern designs are designed that pressure from the inlet has no standing effect on the water that will pass thru the pump. The storage area where the pump will be obtaining its supply is not pressurized as the water is simply sitting. Both valve control management and flow switches limit the flow of water into the basin (kindly do check attachments). From my experience in the water service industry, I am positive that whether or not the MHT is present after the meter it would not change the pressure of water headed up. Not Counter Productive :)

On your second point, fantastic insight - We are very aware of this conundrum from the get-go; especially when we were counselled by our Advisor and head for Turbine Studies in DLSU, Eng. Malfori.

The point is, go too high, you get full consumption, but low pressure. Be at the bottom, minimal consumption but highest pressure.

For highrises especially, the turbines do not need to obtain the strongest pressure at the bottom; where functional pressure is achieved, that is where we would install the device.

The work around we have devised for this, and the reason why we are very attached to PRV's is that we are analogous to the said devices. Due to the low cost of our device, the MHT can be placed into several locations in the downstream.

Thank you for your input! :)

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King Karl Seroje Jul 26, 2016

Then, that would be awesome! :)

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