Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ratchaphon Santivarakorn, head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering has succeeded in inventing an independent vortex power generation system, another hydropower generation technology that can provide electricity to folk people at the water source where stream flows all year long. This will do away with dam or reservoir, the construction cost of which is very high and the impact from which can bring damage to former ecological system and a change of geological and climatic conditions as well as interference with forest lives.
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ratchaphon Santivarakorn said, “This study was aimed at building an independent and high-speed vortex system capable of turning water turbine to generate electricity. The principle of fluid mechanics in the design of efficient water vortex necessitates a certain height -- in conventional cases, 1.50 m or higher in order to be able to produce electricity. This research conceptualized power generation from the system height lower than 1.00 m.”
The project was divided into 3 major stages: 1) Design of the vortex – an appropriate vortex system should be cylindrical in shape. 2) Design of the turbine that could suitably resist impact from water power. Water circulates in a conical pattern similar to a cyclone. Thus, the blades should be designed to resist the centrifugal flow of water, i.e., in a turbine pattern. 3) Design of electrical current generator that can change mechanical power to electrical power. The three parts, when incorporated, would make a power generation system that can genuinely produce electricity of 1.7 KW at headwater of 0.9 m.
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ratchaphon Santivarakorn added, “This research is new to Thailand. It is a new alternative to develop a water resource system in needy areas that will upgrade the quality of life of the people. The cost of the system was roughly 200,000 baht. From this amount, we obtained a prototype system for further research and extension work on the real independent vortex power generation plant at Mae Jang Dam, Lampang under the Electricity Generation Authority Thailand