• Tech Tech

Innovative whirlpool turbine could solve major issue with hydropower: ‘[It] wasn’t viable before’

It’s a unique system, leveraging river power in a way similar to watermills, which have existed for centuries.

It’s a unique system, leveraging river power in a way similar to watermills, which have existed for centuries.

Photo Credit: Turbulent

You don’t have to live near Hoover Dam to tap hydropower. 

Experts at Belgium’s Turbulent have developed a Vortex turbine that maximizes low-flow water from rivers and canals that also have low height differences in the surrounding terrain. 

The unique systems can provide hydropower to remote towns and villages, energizing between 50 and 500 homes with water flow that “wasn’t viable before,” according to the company. 

They work by diverting some of the water into a large well that creates a low-flow vortex. There are gates and racks to screen debris and control the water flow, which powers a turbine. Numerous Vortexes can be installed along a river or canal to produce more power, all per a company description. 

Turbulent said the setups are fish-friendly, low maintenance, and easy to install with remote monitoring, and they last up to three decades. 

The company touts around-the-clock energy, as long as the water is flowing. What’s more, a system can be set up in about three to five months, according to company FAQs.

Turbulent lists 12 projects on its website, including one in Idaho, which will use water from irrigation canals to add energy to the grid, per the project description. 

It’s part of the way renewable energy innovators around the world are developing exciting ways to harness wind, solar, and hydropower. Other unique water-based power systems include water batteries and a concept that utilizes heat from the sun that is trapped by tropical waters. 

They are notable breakthroughs as we consider cleaner products and power sources. Switching to renewable energy and efficient appliances can save you money, as well.  

For Turblent’s part, the company’s hydro plants can even be hauled in on a truck, per the experts. 

“While solar is a great way to supplement power needs with renewable energy, a small hydro plant is the clear choice wherever there is a viable river,” according to the company. 

The cost is the first question in the FAQ section of the company’s website. But, there isn’t a price sheet to browse. Turbulent cites several variables that can impact the expense, based on location. The team said there’s typically a return on investment between four and eight years. 

“In many cases, it can be less than six years. When our solution is being used to replace diesel generators in remote areas, the payback period can be as low as two years,” per the FAQ. 

It’s a unique system, leveraging river power in a way similar to watermills, which have existed for centuries. And, the Turbulent experts said in a video clip shared on YouTube that those sites are typically good places for Vortex tech

“A Turbulent hydropower turbine is an investment. An investment in yourself, your company, in your future,” according to the company. 

Join our free newsletter for cool news and cool tips that make it easy to help yourself while helping the planet.

Cool Divider