The project of developing a new hydroelectric turbine concept designed for the harnessing of very low water heads (net head height ranging between 1.4 and 2.8 m) originates from a fact established by a team of small hydro professionals.
There are up to now no equipments enabling making hydroelectric sites with a head lower than 2 m acceptably profitable, in the economical context of developed countries. Technically, existing technologies are available, but their implementation implies such civil engineering costs that they make the global investment too heavy.
As the outcome of many years of experience in the design of low-head turbines, a French patent application has been filed for the VLH turbogenerator unit in 2003. This patent has been given an international extension in 2006. In April 2004, MJ2 technologies S.A.R.L has been created to develop the new concept, find financings, carry out the R&D scientific program and the obtaining of the first prototype and the industrial launching.
In 2004 and 2005, the preliminary studies have been completed. In 2006, laboratory tests on small scale models have validated the concept and confirmed the technical performances. The first demonstration site, the administrative concession of which has been obtained in 10 months, is under construction. The manufacturing of the first industrial prototype is launched for a commissioning due for the end of 2006.
On March 19, 2007, the VLH unit has delivered its first kWs to the public network on our Millau demonstration site. This date marks the end of the first R&D phase of the project and the beginning of the industrialization of the VLH concept.
During the first quarter of 2006, the detail design has been achieved after the tests on a small-scale model (see our NL 4). This first step has enabled launching the manufacturing of the first turbogenerator unit.
The actual manufacturing has required more than 10 months due to the many innovations incorporated by the VLH. By the end of February, beginning of March, the turbine and generator elements have been delivered on site. They have been assembled on site before being able to place the machine in its location. Once in place, the VLH has been connected to the electric equipment and to the auxiliaries and the commissioning tests have been able to start.
Since then, the nominal power has been reached, the runaway has been successfully tested, the control equipment and the speed regulator have been tested and commissioned.
The VLH has been working at an industrial rate since the end of the tests. Its operation is very smooth, vibration-free and very silent.
Since the commissioning, the Millau demonstration site has had more than 600 visits.
Experts from all European countries, as well as from North America, Latin America, and Asia have made the trip to Millau
MJ2 has delivered 10 VLH by the end of 2009 and should deliver the same number in 2010.
MJ2 has booked its first 3 orders deliverable in 2008 and should complete others by the end of the year.
Agreements are being negotiated for Poland, the Czech Republic and Romania.