Energy Efficiency, Hydropower

The Leading Edge

Issue 2 and Volume 29.

Hydro Green Energy releases fish survival study

Results from a study of Hydro Green Energy’s hydrokinetic turbine technology indicate that only one of the 402 tagged fish that swam through the turbine showed evidence of direct physical harm.

The 100-kW unit tested operates at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Lock and Dam No. 2 in Hastings, Minn. Normandeau Associates performed the fish survival study in the summer of 2009. The goal of this study was to evaluate the direct effects to fish of this unit.

Normandeau conducted the fish survival study using its HI-Z Turb N’ Tag technology.

The methodology used involved a controlled experimental approach designed to produce comprehensive, statistically reliable, and verifiable results on injury and survival of fish passing through the turbine.

To accomplish this task, Normandeau deployed 502 balloon- and radio-tagged fish of a variety of species and sizes. Of the fish deployed, 402 swam through the turbine, which rotates at 21 revolutions per minute, and 100 were allowed to swim freely in the river near the turbine.

Nearly all of the tagged fish were recaptured. Environmental scientists then studied the survival and injury rates of both groups. Only one of the 402 fish that swam through the hydrokinetic unit showed evidence of direct physical harm. Hydro Green Energy reports that this may have been due to the fact that the fish was outfitted with a balloon tag, causing it rise to the surface to interact with the hydrokinetic device in a manner that otherwise would not occur.

Before the unit was installed at Hastings, Hydro Green Energy performed computer modeling, using models created by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Department of Energy. This modeling indicated a 97 percent fish survival rating for the turbine, Hydro Green Energy reported.

The 82-page results of this study have been filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). FERC licensed the Hastings hydrokinetic project in December 2008.

In December 2009, Hydro Green Energy won honorable mention in the renewable/sustainable category of Power Engineering magazine’s annual Projects of the Year Awards.

New Hampshire city to install hydrokinetic system

The city of Keene, N.H., is installing a hydrokinetic system developed by New York-based Rentricity at the city’s wastewater treatment plant.

Rentricity’s Flow-to-Wire system is a micro-hydro unit that harnesses power from pressurized water streams built to handle storm water or wastewater. This system can generate 20 kW to 300 kW of power, the company said.

The hydrokinetic system will reduce the city’s electricity consumption and offset the rising cost of energy, city officials said. The new system is expected to begin generating power by mid-2010.

Oregon Iron Works to build wave energy project

Oregon Iron Works is constructing Ocean Power Technologies’ first commercial wave energy PowerBuoy system in North America.

The system, to be installed off the Oregon coast near Reedsport, will represent the first phase of an expected 1.5-MW Reedsport wave power station consisting of ten PowerBuoy units. Nine additional PowerBuoys will be constructed and installed under the second phase of the project.

Ocean Power Technologies and Oregon Iron Works estimate that construction of the first 150-kW PowerBuoy PB150 wave energy device will take place between December 2009 and September 2010. This work is expected to create or sustain about 30 jobs.

Mark Draper, chief executive officer of Ocean Power Technologies, said Oregon state leaders have helped to promote green technologies and to make use of Oregon’s wave energy potential.

Bourne Energy develops “ultra portable” power plant

Bourne Energy has completed an “ultra-portable” power plant for the military.

The unit, which weighs less than 25 pounds, uses the currents of small rivers and streams to generate power in remote areas and can be packed and transported in a large backpack. The new unit can produce up to 600 watts, enough to power lights, refrigerators, computers, and communications for homes, schools, and medical clinics, Bourne said.

The Backpack Power Plant-Type 2 can be set up and dismantled quickly and can be moved daily. In addition, the unit can be mounted to the riverbed to avoid detection, Bourne said.

The unit can be transported by Humvee, mule, or man, or even air-dropped into rugged, remote areas and quickly set up in small steady or seasonal rivers and streams, the company said.

The new unit is a smaller version of the company’s original Backpack Power Plant hydrokinetic system, which weighs 30 pounds and can generate up to 500 watts.

ECO-Auger receives ConocoPhillips Energy Prize

ConocoPhillips and Penn State awarded the 2009 ConocoPhillips Energy Prize to the ECO-Auger, a hydrokinetic energy device.

Smart Product Innovations of Pitman, N.J., developed the ECO-Auger. The unit consists of a tapered helical blade that rotates via the motion of moving water. This rotation is directly coupled to a high-pressure hydraulic pump located in the nose cone. The nose cone stabilizes the torque generated from the rotation and transfers it to a hydraulic pump. The pump supplies variable volumes of high-pressure fluid at set controlled pressure, regardless of the direction or speed of rotation. This pressure feeds an oil-driven electric generator. The unit can be tethered to a bridge or anchored in moving water.

The ConocoPhillips Energy Prize recognizes new ideas and original, actionable solutions that can help improve the way the U.S. develops and uses energy. The prize focuses on innovative ideas and solutions in three areas: developing new energy sources, improving energy efficiency, and combating climate change. Through this award, Smart Product Innovations received $125,000 to further development of the concept.

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Hydro Alternative Energy Inc. has acquired Water Power Technologies LLC, giving it the licensing rights to the Hydro Power Generation System. Hydro Alternative Energy said the technology’s basic design will eliminate two to three years of research and development.

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