Education

Three exciting hydroelectric ideas

 By Amanda Saint

According to statistics from the World Energy Council, hydropower is the world’s leading renewable energy source for electricity, providing 16.4 percent of the world’s total supply in 2016…

To date, there have been three main types of hydropower stations: river flow, reservoir and pumped storage. But there are some exciting developments in the sector that may tap into the estimated 10,000 TWh/year of hydropower potential worldwide that is not yet in use.

• Exciting Hydroelectric Idea #1 – Created by South Korean designer, Sung Jin Cho, the Seawer Skyscraper is a proposed self-supported hydroelectric power station that would generate electricity from waves and the sun, as well as the waste plastic littering the oceans by separating the plastic particles from the seawater and putting cleaned water back into the ocean. It was Highly Commended in eVolo’s 2014 Skyscraper competition but, as yet, this highly ambitious and technically challenging invention has not become a reality. You can see how it could work in this video showing 10 Underwater Skyscrapers—it’s at number 2.

10 Underwater Skyscraper Concepts (geobeats)

• Exciting Hydroelectric Idea #2 – The SEARASER from British inventor, Alvin Smith, uses the motion of waves to pump water uphill, where it can be stored and then released again later to create on-demand power. Renewable energy entrepreneur, Dale Vince, who launched the UK’s leading green energy company, Ecotricity, has bought the patent and is getting ready to generate power in the seas surrounding the island. Watch the SEARASER in action in this video.

SEARASER Wave Energy Device (Peace Trees)

• Exciting Hydroelectric Idea #3 – On a much smaller scale, a team of researchers at Seoul National University and Korea Electronics Technology Institute are researching how hydropower electricity can be generated in buildings. These microgeneration ideas use the rain running down the windows and gutters, as well as the toilet flushing, to provide enough power to light a home. Here’s how it works:

Korea Electronics Technology Institute show how to use TOILET water as electricity (livechillingnews9999)

The International Hydropower Association hosted the 2017 World Hydropower Congress in May in Addis Ababa and ended the conference with a commitment from organizations and research institutes across the globe to develop better hydropower to meet the fast growing need for sustainable, nonpolluting energy. It’s hoped that the exciting ideas highlighted here will soon become a renewable energy reality.

SEE MORE: Six amazing wind innovations by Amanda Saint

about the author
Amanda Saint
Journalist and content writer, specialised in engineering and technology with a focus on environmental sustainability, urbanisation and biotechnology.