Draft Rules for Ternary Pump-Storage Design Competition

Rebalance Energy has completed a rough draft of the rules for the Ternary Pump-Storage Competition and distributed them for comments from prospective members of the Rules Committee. If you are interested in participating the Rules Committee please send an e-mail to david.elwood@rebalancenrg.com. The final rules for the competition will be posted no later that December 31, 2019. In the meantime here’s the rough draft to get you thinking about your designs:


  1. Definitions
    • Competition Organizer – The competition organizer shall be Rebalance Energy with technical support from the Rules Committee.
    • Rules Committee – The rules committee shall be comprised of hydropower professionals, teachers, scientists, and policy makers with an interest in energy storage and STEM education. The committee shall finalize the rules for the competition no later than December 31, 2019.
    • Team – An individual or a unique group of individuals from an organization that designs/fabricates components to be tested during the competition.
    • Test Stand – The system that shall be used to test a Team’s components as defined by the schematic included as Attachment A.
    • Student Team – A team comprised entirely of individuals who are currently enrolled as full time students at a primary school, secondary school, vocational school, college, or university.
    • Judges – A group of three individuals selected by the Rules Committee to determine the winner and runner-up of the competition.
  2. Testing
    • All testing shall be completed using a Test Stand provided by the Competition Organizer as defined by the schematic included in Attachment A.
    • Each Team shall provide the following components to be tested during the competition:
      1. Turbine runner with a maximum diameter of 200 mm (7.87 inches)
      2. Turbine shaft and coupling to interface with the permanent magnet generator on the Test Stand.
    • Each Team may provide the following components to be tested during the competition:
      1. Jets to interface with the needle valves on the Test Stand.
      2. A permanent magnet generator to replace the generator included on the Test Stand.
      3. Electronic controls for the generator as needed to complete the testing.
  3. The Competition Organizer shall operate the pump prior to each test to ensure that the accumulator tank is charged to a pressure of 100 PSI prior to each test. When the accumulator is charged the pump shall be disconnected from the grid and each Team shall operate the Test Stand during their tests.
  4. The following tests shall be completed by each Team:
    • No Load Test
      1. Each Team shall operate the Test Stand to maximize the speed of their turbine runner.
      2. The maximum rotating speed of the runner shall be recorded by the Competition Organizer.
    • Fixed Load Test
      1. Each team shall operate the test stand to heat one (1) liter of water in a glass beaker to be provided by the Competition Organizer.
      2. The maximum temperature rise of the water shall be recorded by the Competition Organizer.
    • Variable Load Test
      1. Each Team shall operate the test stand with the pump motor and turbine generator interconnected to a direct current micro grid provided by the Competition Organizer including:
        • A 40 watt fixed load
        • A 650 Amp-hour lead-acid battery charged to 12 Volts
        • A variable generator to be controlled by the Competition Organizer
      2. The Competition Organizer shall record the minimum voltage in the micro grid during the test. If the voltage in the micro grid exceeds 14.4 volts during the test the test shall be stopped and a minimum voltage of zero (0) shall be recorded.
  5. Scoring
    • Each team shall be evaluated using the following scoring system:
      1. The Team with the highest speed during the No Load Test shall be awarded 10 points with one less point to each of the next nine teams.
      2. The Team with the highest temperature rise during the Fixed Load test shall be awarded 10 points with one less point to each of the next nine teams.
      3. The team with the highest minimum voltage during the Variable Load Test shall be awarded 10 points with one less point to each of the next nine teams.
    • The top three Student Teams shall make a 5-minute pitch of their design to the Judges at a public presentation. The judges shall determine the overall winner and runner-up of the competition based on these pitches.




DRAFT of Attachment A – Test Stand Schematic
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