Conventional hydroelectric power stations are far from unanimous regarding their ability to produce green energy. Their installation often involves large works that have negative impacts on the fauna and flora. These installations are also criticized since they would deteriorate the landscape. Some experts even believe that hydroelectric plants produce even more greenhouse gases than gas-fired plants. And for good reason, the flooded biomass ferments and then releases methane and CO₂. However, hydroelectricity has a major advantage over photovoltaic and wind power: it is not intermittent. In addition, it has a particularly low cost per kWh.
A mini hydroelectric power station
For all the aforementioned reasons, the German startup Aquakin, based in Fürth, Bavaria, has developed a micro hydroelectric power station called Blue Freedom. According to its designers, it is the smallest and lightest hydroelectric power station in the world. With its weight of less than 500 g and its diameter of 20 centimeters, the device can be easily transported in a backpack. By its size and design, it is mainly aimed at hikers and campers. Indeed, the mini-power plant can be used to generate electricity even from a stream.
A successful fundraising campaign
The Blue Freedom consists of a turbine and a support that incorporates a battery. The energy produced by the turbine is stored in the latter which, in turn, can recharge a smartphone, a tablet, a cameraa razor, an LED lamp or any other low-power electrical or electronic device.
The mini hydroelectric plant was the subject of a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter in 2016. An operation which enabled the company to collect a little more than $190,000 for a goal of $100,000. Suffice to say that the concept has seduced Internet users.
Other more powerful models
Note that in addition to the Blue Freedom, Aquakin has developed units adapted to different types of needs. The company has, for example, designed a linear hydroelectric power station capable of generate up to 160,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per yearn, which is theoretically sufficient to supply about forty homes per year.
Benedikt Schröder, Stephan Pacardo, Leif Schoeller and Benedict Padberg, the co-founders of Aquakin, have even created a system with which simple water pipes can be used to generate electrical current. More information: bestfriendportable.clickmake.com