Tom’s Pipe Dream Becomes a Reality
24 Nov 2010
Tom Broadbent design student at the De Montfort University in Leicester has created a way of harnessing energy from waste water down pipes
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Have you ever had one of those Eureka moments? Well this is just what happened to Tom Broadbent design student at the De Montfort University in Leicester UK. Originally from Nottingham Tom first came up with the idea while stopping at a hotel and noticed the force of the water as he emptied his bath. “It seemed logical that this energy should be harnessed in some way to create green electricity” says Tom.
Seeing all that energy just escaping down the pipes Tom thought about inventing something to capture the energy and convert it to electricity. His project was aimed at producing an easily installed device that would contribute to achieving targets for the the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions set out by governments at the G8 Summit.
Tom has called his resulting invention the Highdro and he estimates that if it is used in large buildings such as a seven-storey hotel or high-rise it could save over £900 worth of electricity a year. His initial prototype was built with standard components readily available from waste water management equipment suppliers. The falling waste water hits a series of four turbine blades that take the form of a traditional waterwheel — a design best suited to allowing any solids to pass through without effecting the flow. The rotary motion of these propellers power a small generator, creating electricity that can be used in the building or sold back to the grid under the new buy back tariffs.
The next phase in Tom’s plans is to have it fitted to a building for testing and then to have his design released onto the market to help people with tall buildings benefit from on site energy micro-generation. The Highdro is ideal for flats, apartments, university campuses, hotels and high-rise offices.
Dr Guy Bingham Senior Lecturer for the Faculty of Art and Design at De Montfort University is highly impressed with his Industrial Design Course Student’s invention. ‘Tom’s idea is truly an innovation” he said “I hope to see this go into production very soon.”
Tom is growing a career as a freelance designer but aspires to joining the leading designers at James Dyson’s. He wants his ideas to have a positive effect and be readily available to the general public. “My vision is to design products that actually benefit society in some way and get released on the market.’ says Tom. Now armed with a good degree, real practical experience and a host of good ideas he may well become a household name for green design in the near future.
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