Natel Energy Bi-Monthly Newsletter - March/April 2014


Visit Natel Energy’s booth number 1407

at the HydroVision Conference in Nashville on July 22
 

what's new

•   SLH100 parts: Major milestone achieved on the upper shaft assembly as all parts (axle, cross shaft) arrived at the tower, passed inspection and assembled successfully. In addition, other parts like PTO shaft and draft tube were delivered.
•   Testing: GV1 module test and strain gauge test.
•   Controls: Achievement of a major milestone bringing the plant simulator online.
•   Chile Business Development: Adam Atkinson-Lewis, Andy Baumgartner, and Alex Conn tested the 3D Robotics UAV as a system to map sites in Chile and Adam successfully used the craft to identify promising sites in Chile.
•   Conferences: Natel was featured at the Department of State's World Water Day event in Washington, DC in March, and at the National Hydro Association conference in April.

upcoming

Natel will be at HydroVision in Nashville in July and at World Water Week in September.


 

01 product development


Testing
The team assembled the guidevane test module, to test controls and hydraulic cylinders. This is a fully functional, hydraulically activated SLH100 guidevane system representing the primary controls mechanism. It is connected to a plant simulator that enables Natel to put the full controls system through test and verification in the lab. At left, Adam Reich checks the functioning of the hydraulic cylinders for the guidevane system.
On the blades, Natel is testing a system to gather strain gauge data from the hydroEngine’s™ carbon fiber blades during actual plant operation. At right, Kevin and Adam assemble a prototype of the strain gauge sensor, which houses a power source and antenna attached to a wireless transmitter. Data from this sensor will be key to verifying blade loads under varying operating parameters.
Controls
Natel reached a major milestone bringing online a functioning plant simulator that runs inputs for all of the plant control parameters (power output, head, flow rate, etc.) through the actual SLH100 control system. This simulator enables robust testing of the control system in a safe and isolated manner, ensuring the quality and security of the control system that is shipped. The plant simulator also enables “Hardware-In-The-Loop” testing of the mechanical systems that will be controlled at the plant, such as the guidevane and actuation system.
SLH100 Assembly
A number of major components of the SLH100 were received from suppliers and the assembly process of the first full SLH100 commenced. Alex and Peder assemble the cross shaft and spline, which transmits torque from the hydroEngine™ to the generator.
Andrew and Erick inspect the axle, another part of the upper shaft assembly.
Abe, Andrew, and Joanna inspect the newly arrived power-takeoff shaft.
The draft tube for the Monroe Hydro Project was completed and delivered to the project site in Oregon.
As the pace picks up on assembling the full SLH100, it is critical to check and re-check for ease of assembly. The team built a shroud mockup to test the upper shroud assembly process.

02  project focus


Chile project
As part of Natel’s USTDA supported site scoping and market development efforts in Chile, Natel has adapted an unmanned aerial vehicle camera system to find and preliminarily survey hydro sites. The system can fly a pre-set pattern, and is using image processing and mapping systems to identify promising sites in canals and riverways. Here team members conduct preliminary tests of the 3D Robotics UAV near our Alameda, CA headquarters.
In Chile, Adam Atkinson-Lewis has so far conducted five test flights demonstrating successful test of the craft and data analysis. Additionally, we have surveyed one of the pilot project locations.

03 business development


Patents

Natel now has patent pending status on two additional innovations in the hydroEngine™ drive train.

New team members: Peder Aune

Peder Aune has been working with Natel since December 2012 and joined Natel full time in May 2013. Peder provides prototyping support to Natel’s engineers, fabricating components for a variety of product development projects. He has several years of machining experience, including the programming and operation of CNC mills and lathes. Peder holds a B.S. degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford University.

New team members: Andy Baumgartner

Andy joined Natel in January 2014. He is an Archivist and GIS Analyst at Natel. Currently he splits his time between documenting the construction of the SLH100 hydroEngine™, and building a GIS system which helps locate potential hydropower sites. He also assists in web development and graphic design. Andy received a BA in Computer Science from the University of Minnesota, but has also worked as a graphic designer, photographer, and video editor.

04 media & outreach


Conferences
Natel was invited to be one of 24 “exemplar US water technologies” to participate in the State Department and US Water Partnership‘s World Water Day event on Friday, March 21. Gia Schneider and Adam Atkinson-Lewis attended USTechH2.0 to exhibit the hydroEngine™ to government agency representatives, embassy officials, and other water industry stakeholders. We were excited to participate and spread the word about our vision for EcoSmartHydro™.

World Water Week's Ideas' Marketplace August 31-September 4

Natel has been awarded a spot at World Water Week's Ideas' Marketplace in Stockholm, where we'll be presenting EcoSmartHydro™ to the world's preeminent water-energy nexus thinkers and doers. 

World Water Week is the premier gathering of the world's water experts across government, non-governmental, and private organizations, and this year it is focused on the important overlap between water and energy issues. We think it's a perfect spot to discuss EcoSmartHydro™, and we hope you can join us!

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