The turbine is based on the principle of a whirlpool, while being both fish friendly and allowing debris to pass through
The Belgian company Turbulent has developed a whirlpool turbine that can provide energy 24 hours a day for dozens of homes. Inspired by nature, the decentralized hydro-power plant can be installed in most rivers and canals, providing a low-cost power solution for rural areas around the world. The generator uses flowing water to produce energy - enough to power up to 60 homes. According to the company, the system is fish-friendly, has a long operating life, requires low maintenance (as the turbine is the only moving part) and it can be remotely monitored as well.
The installation process
The system can easily be installed within a weekâ€™s time at every natural height difference in a river or canal. At first, a hole is dug near the water source to install a concrete basin from prefabricated parts. Then, a generator and impeller are installed inside the basin and earth is put back in place. When the river or canal wall is raised, water runs into the basin, forming the vortex and getting the turbine going.
Types of installations
Turbulent can be used either in rivers or on land. In the first case, the system can be a standalone installation, while on land, the set up can be with sudden drop (height difference of minimum 1.5 meters) or inclination (height difference of 3 meters over a distance of 100 meters). It is also possible to install multiple turbines along a canal or river, in order to generate energy without a large dam, avoiding the risk of flooding or negative impact to local communities. In such cases, these hydro-power plants can provide as much as 10MW in power output, producing enough energy to power a small city of 300 people.