Monday, December 26, 2011
EarthTechling recently sat down with Hydrovolts Founder and CEO Burt Hamner at Hydrovolts’ offic.
Hamner first got the idea for Hydrovolts while working on a feasibility study for a proposed tidal power plant in the Tacoma Narrows region of Puget Sound in 2007. Ultimately, the report concluded that a commercial tidal power plant was not technically or economically feasible. But, the study did inspire Hamner to explore the possibility of generating power in smaller, artificial water channels. Unlike Puget Sound, “these canals generally have steady, predictable currents, contain little or no debris, have no endangered species, and are easily accessible by road,” he said. “They are also typically maintained by large engineering organizations that know how to handle machinery.”
Hydrovolts was born from Hamner’s desire to develop a “plug and play”, drop-in micro-hydro turbine that requires no concrete or construction, and utilizes commercial off-the-shelf components. The turbine features a “flipwing” rotor, which uses hinged blades to rotate the center turbine shaft. As the blades begin their reverse upstream stroke, they flip open backwards to eliminate resistance (see video above).