Capilano Energy Recovery Turbine Turns Flow From Water Filtration Process into a Power Source

Because the Seymour Capilano Filtration Plant is higher in elevation than the Capilano Reservoir, pressure is created when treated water is returned to the Capilano pump station for distribution. A turbine in the Capilano energy recovery facility will generate electricity from the excess pressure once the new tunnels connecting the Capilano reservoir and the Seymour water filtration system are fully tested and operational. See how crews tackled the tricky business of moving this large turbine into its permanent home.

 Moving 12 tons of solid steel may sound like a job for brute force. But it is actually a delicate business. Getting this big blue turbine inside a small grey building will require two cranes, lots of discussion, specialized lifting gear, assorted cutting tools, and some elbow grease.

Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 11.59.03 AM“This piece of equipment is one of the heaviest pieces,” says Metro Vancouver senior project engineer Jugoslav Balkin. “It weighs a little bit less than twelve tons which is the ultimate capacity of the inside crane. To put it into place we are going to use two cranes and spin it until we place it.”

The turbine is being installed as part of the Seymour/Capilano Water Utility project, providing cost-savings by harvesting the energy created by water returning to the Capilano pumping station after treatment at the Seymour filtration plant.

twin tunnels graphicElevation Change Delivers Energy

Because the Seymour facility is higher in elevation than the Capilano reservoir, excess pressure is created when treated water is returned to Capilano for distribution. This water pressure will spin the turbine, generating electricity that can partially offset the power requirements of the pump station.

“The power of the generator is almost 1.7 megawatts,” explains Balkin. “According to the flows we have seen historically we are expecting to see 9.6 gigawatt hours of electricity every year.”

9.6 gigawatt hours of energy is roughly the same amount of electricity that 1000 homes would consume in a year.

“It can cover the consumption for heating and electricity and other base consumption of both Capilano Pump station and the energy recovery facility, or it can cover a bit more than one pump down at the Capilano pump station,” says Balkin.

Install Demands Precision

capilano energy recovery turbineBut first, this twelve ton chunk of machined steel needs to be unwrapped. Lifted. Put down. Lifted again. Moved slightly. Lifted again. While one man controls the crane, another, called the slinger or banksman, guides the big load into position. It’s lowered onto a set of steel skates. These wheeled plates support the turbine box and allow it to roll across the beams that bridge the opening in the wall.

capilano energy recovery turbine installTwo cranes are required for the final stage. The truck crane outside and an overhead crane inside the building.  It’s a delicate operation, with no room for error. Finally, the turbine is lowered into position and bolted into place. Jugoslav Balkin explains how they will test and prep the turbine.

“Once all the pieces are installed, we are going to do dry commissioning. After that we are probably going to use one or two pumps from the pump station to do a partial wet commissioning, and once the treated water tunnel is in service we are planning to do a full wet commissioning.”

The project is scheduled for completion by mid-2015.

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