Rhode Island Energy Office Helps Small Company Develop Microturbine

April 29, 2005

Using financial support from the Rhode Island Renewable Energy Fund, Rentricity, Inc. in New York City has developed an innovative system for generating electricity from excess pressure in pipes. Called Flow-to-Wire™, Rentricity's innovative microturbines can extract electricity from a variety of different types of flows in pipes, including gases, solids, and drinking water supplies.

The systems replace pressure reducing valves, which are commonly used in water supply systems to expel excess pressure in pipes. Flow-to-Wire consists of a microturbine, generator with a rated capacity between 30 kilowatts (kW) and 200 kW, sensors, processors, electronic controls, and communications equipment that adapt to variable pressures and flow rates. Rentricity publishes more information online about Flow-to-Wire.

The Rhode Island Renewable Energy Fund will support two projects with Providence Water and the Pawtucket Water Supply Board. Providence Water operates the largest water utility in the state, serving about 67 million gallons per day to 60% of the population of Rhode Island in 17 cities and towns. Pawtucket is constructing a new water treatment facility that will use "Flow-to-Wire." Pam Marchand, Chief Engineer and General Manager of the Pawtucket Water Supply Board says, "As we continue the construction of our new water treatment facility, planning intelligently for energy recovery now makes sense."

The Rhode Island State Energy Office (RISEO) manages the Rhode Island Renewable Energy Fund, which derives from a small charge on the state's electricity customers (called a systems benefits charge). RISEO Chief of Energy & Community Services Janice McClanaghan said, "We are excited about the prospects of recovering energy from various state-based water systems. Our goal is to identify ways of using commercially available technologies for renewable power generation that can have a positive and immediate economic and environmental impact in the State of Rhode Island."

In February the New England Power Pool (NEPOOL) designated Rentricity as an "Alternative Resource Provider" that can sell renewable energy credits. It was the first time NEPOOL made this designation. Rhode Island will use renewable energy credits to help electricity providers meet their requirements under the state's renewable portfolio standard.

For more information, see Rentricity's April 27 press release.