Enhancing energy efficiency of water supply systems by recovering part of the excessive pressure is currently an issue of growing interest for water companies. The installation of micro hydro plants for energy recovery can be profitable in sites with excessive pressure, though requiring proper technical and economical evaluation. This paper presents a methodology for assessing the energy recovery potential in water supply systems under high seasonal demand variation. The methodology is based on the calculation of head and flow rate conditions that maximize energy production for a specific energy recovery technology, given available head and flow rate ranges. The methodology is applied to the inlet of a storage tank of a water transmission system using hourly collected data over one year. Results show that, in systems of high variability of flow rate, the installation of turbomachines in parallel is necessary for maximizing energy recovery and that the developed methodology returns lower, but more realistic, energy production estimates than other approaches based on average head and flow rate data.
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