Hydrovolts featured in this artice from Gizmodo:
Irrigation canals are the blood vessels of agriculture, delivering water throughout America’s farmland. Pretty soon, they may well deliver a bit of electricity too, thanks to the Hydrovolt micro-generator.
The Hydrovolt C2, designed and built by the same-named Washington state company, is a compact car-sized device that sits on a irrigation canal’s floor and utilizes the steady, uninterrupted flow of water to power its turbine, which is situated perpendicular to the flow, like a paddle boat wheel. As the wheel turns, it cranks an on-board generator that produces a charge. The device is neutrally buoyant so it can generate power on the water’s surface as well, without impeding the flow or affecting the water quality.
“There are huge regions of the world that are irrigated, where they have built these highways of water,” Burt Hamner, founder and CEO of Hydrovolts, said in a press statement. “We’ve found a way to make a little power off it without any environmental impact.”
Washington, DC (May 9, 2011) Legislation to improve the regulatory framework for hydropower development continued moving forward on Capitol Hill today as the Energy and Power Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing on draft legislation based on a bipartisan bill previously introduced by Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Diane DeGette (D-CO).
The Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act of 2012 directs FERC to examine the feasibility of a two-year licensing process for certain low-impact hydropower projects, such as converting existing non-powered dams; removes small conduit projects from FERC jurisdiction; allows more small projects to qualify for the exemption process; and directs the Energy Department to study the role of pumped storage hydropower for integrating intermittent renewables. Similar legislation co-sponsored by Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), the Hydropower Improvement Act of 2011, passed the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on a voice vote last April.
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The small Hydrovolts hydrokinetic turbine that was placed recently in the Roza Canal near Yakima can generate enough power to support three or four homes. That’s not huge, but the devices take only about an hour to install and don’t block the flow of water or obstruct the canal’s other water distribution functions.
After winning several clean technology awards, Seattle-based Hydrovolts raised $3 million from various angel groups and is actively looking for manufacturing sites in Washington state. It could have a turbine product on the market as early as 2013.
“It’s a huge advantage to us to be located …
Hydrovolts was featured today in a White House press release:
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.