Live Near a Waterway? HydroVolts Can Power Your Home

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Hydrovolts develops modular hydrikinetic turbines for use in canals & other waterwars
Hydrovolts develops modular hydrikinetic turbines for use in canals & other waterways

At Tuesday’s Academy Awards of Cleantech (The Cleantech Open), attendees were all abuzz about Seattle-based HydroVolts, winner of the $20,000 Cleantech Open sustainability prize. HydroVolts has created a floating in-stream hydrokinetic turbine that generates distributed renewable energy anywhere around the world.   Hydrovolts’ vision is to provide renewable energy to millions of people around the world who live near water.  The turbines are designed to drop into moving water, such as irrigation canals, spillways, tidal currents, wastewater flows, streams, rivers and other waterways.  Energy is collected from the force of moving water rather than pressure, operating like an underwater paddlewheel, so the turbine is safe for fish, unobtrusive, non-polluting and of course, renewable.  Each turbine can power 1 to 10 homes along the waterway and is about the size and cost of a small car.  The technology is modular, scalable and simple to deploy. Check out this video to learn more.

HydroVolts, like most Cleantech Open applicants, is quite early stage. It has a complete prototype which has produced power in a river, and an agreement for a demonstration project.  But it has received interest from 15 countries around the world including Somalia, Croatia, and Bolivia.

One of 13 finalists out of 1000+ entries, HydroVolts recently was awarded the $5000 Newpreneur award sponsored by Alibaba.Com and Inc. Magazine.   “Everybody understands the power in fast flowing water…Everybody sees right away that artificial canals are a much better place to start a new water power business than wild rivers or tidal channels full of fish, debris and environmental regulations,” CEO Burt Hamner said.

Not only is this an advance in hydrokinetic technologies, but HydroVolts has the potential to enable renewable energy generation in parts of the world where it hasn’t been possible before.  Here’s to the company’s success.

Amie runs Cobblestone Solutions, LLC, a consultancy focusing on business development, marketing, communications and strategy for mission driven companies. Previously, Amie served as Director of Business Development for Viv (a Bay Area environmental start-up), Program Manager for Social Venture Technology Group (a boutique consulting firm focused on measuring social and environmental impact), and Associate Consultant at Bain & Co (a global management consulting firm). She is particularly interested in innovations that reduce waste, altering consumer behavior for good, and leveraging the power of business to solve the climate crisis. You can read more from her on her blog, on GreenBiz.com, and on JustMeans.