Clean power development from river water

Last week, I blogged about the possibility of using clean, sustainable and secure energy sources to supply all of the world’s power needs. Two academic researchers in California have written a paper in which they state that the primary sources would be wind, water and sunlight (WWS).

Since reading about their report, I’ve run across a fascinating video that shows the development of a hydroelectric turbine with the potential to produce lots of power from moving river water. Anthony Reale, the inventor of the turbine, refers to his concept as “the hydroelectric solution without the dam problem.” He calls his technology, “Strait Power.”

The video, which at 14:18 is fairly long, shows him building the turbine body (out of wood) and testing it in the University of Michigan’s tow tank.

After years of seeing test tanks used for vessel model tests and trawl net tests, it’s intriguing to see one used for another purpose.

I have no way of concluding that Reale’s invention (patent pending) will work out as he envisions, but it’s encouraging to see this kind of innovation at work. At the end of the video, we see a concept drawing of a barge fitted with an array of these turbines across the bottom. Presumably barges like this would be anchored in rivers, but who knows, perhaps the concept could be modified for tow-behind applications. Someday, perhaps, vessels on long trips could tow their own in-water generators. How cool would that be? 

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About the author

Bruce Buls

With a degree in English literature from the University of Washington (Go Dawgs!), journalism experience at the once-upon-a-time Seattle P-I, and at-sea experience as a commercial fisherman in Washington and Alaska, Bruce Buls has forged a career in commercial marine trade journalism, including stints at Alaska Fishermen’s Journal and National Fisherman, WorkBoat’s sister publications. Bruce spent 16 years as WorkBoat's technical editor before retiring in May 2015. He lives on Puget Sound’s Whidbey Island, about 20 miles north of Seattle (go 'Hawks!).

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