Hydrovolts was featured in this article from the Yakima Herald:
SELAH, Wash. — A Seattle startup is using a Valley irrigation canal to test a hydropower technology it hopes will have worldwide application.
Hydrovolts Inc. has a permit from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to test the 7.5-kilowatt turbine for the first time in the Roza Canal, north of here.
While one unit can power only about three homes, the possibility exists to link numerous turbines together, according to Burt Hamner, the company’s chief executive officer.
“The turbines, depending on the canal, can be placed every few hundred feet,” Hamner said in a telephone interview. “We believe in the western United States there is a potential for 80,000 units.”
Bureau officials also are interested because of the agency’s mandate to boost use of renewable energy.
Tony Hargroves, storage supervisor for the Yakima Irrigation Project, said it’s too early to determine how widespread the technology might become.
“We are in the early stages. Where this might be used is left up to your imagination,” Hargroves said.
One possibility is powering pumps used by small irrigation districts to divert water to farms.
The unit in the Roza canal is about 8 feet high and 15 feet wide and is anchored to the bottom by cables along the bank. The unit generates electricity when the flowing water turns blades.
Installation of two smaller units — actually floating devices — is planned in about two months.
Hamner said the unit being tested here is destined for delivery to a customer for use in rural India. The units cost between $15,000 and $30,000 depending on capacity.
Hamner said the largest need is in international markets.
“The demand for power is higher in many other countries. In India alone, there are 300 million people who don’t have electricity and many of them live along canals,” he said.
Hydrovolts, founded about two years ago, is one of as many as 80 companies in the United States working to develop hydrokinetic turbines, which deploy the motion of fluids. Most, Hamner said, are trying to harness wave energy. A minority of those companies are looking at the flow in canals.
The Roza project is the second time Hydrovolts has installed a generating device for testing purposes. The other is at a wastewater treatment plant in Port Orchard.
Hydrovolts project engineer Jim Styner said the unit was first installed last month under the bureau permit, which allows the company to test the generator through September. He hopes to renew the permit beyond that time to continue testing.
Water flows through the canal section most of the year to power the Roza hydroelectric power plant in north Terrace Heights.