DOE Grant Makes Innovative Hydropower Concept Happen

February 22, 2013

Thanks to a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy in 2011, the New Mexico State University has produced two 10-kW prototypes of a revolutionary axial-flow turbine designed to generate power at any desired frequency from low-head waterways across the United States. The turbines, called HyPER harvesters, can harvest the energy from any gravity-fed flowing water resources such as rivers, streams, and irrigation canals, and the concept is easily adaptable to any fluid-flow system, such as urban water supply systems.

Although the prototypes will not be tested until 2014, the project’s ultimate goal is to retrofit existing dams with scaled up versions of the new turbine to enable the dams to produce several hundred megawatts of additional power. Because the harvesters have the potential for economical manufacturing processes and easy deployment, future applications may include the provision of electricity during power outages caused by storms like Hurricane Sandy and to provide local power sources for communities in developing nations.  

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