The ability to work with low head and with dirty water means installation and maintenance would be way cheaper as well. People who DIY hyrdo power often complain about the constant cleaning and maintenance required. This thing looks like it could easily swallow small sticks and rocks with little to no damage The plug thingy looks like it would be cheap to replace if it was ever damaged. There are no blades to break or nozzle to clog.
The rotation appears pretty slow which I presume would lower the gear reduction needed and make that aspect cheaper as well.
It sounded pretty quiet as well so you could build it closer to your house. DIY hyrdo is often really noisy.
There is a crazy amount of hydro potential near where I live but they have banned dams. Corrupt construction companies were trying to extract money out of the area without giving any of it to the locals so the locals banned them for 'ecology' reasons. Something like this would enable locals to install their own hyrdo generators on the year round streams that run through their properties.
> Typically hydroelectric power requires a huge head of water to function, relying on blades submerged in high-velocity water streams.
From Wikipedia's page on "Water turbines":
> Turbine selection is based on the available water head (...). Kaplan turbines with adjustable blade pitch are well-adapted to wide ranges of head conditions (...), since their peak efficiency can be achieved over a wide range of flow conditions.
They even provide this handy chart for turbine selection:
illustrating that Kaplan turbines work well down to 1 m head.
This turbine is an interesting concept for illustrating fluid mechanics, but I think trying to spin it as a good alternative for a new hydroelectric turbine type is ultimately misleading. Just from the basic function of the turbine I sincerely doubt it can compete with a more classic type like a Kaplan or cross-flow turbine (e.g. the viscous losses and the un-utilised pressure in the outflow both look high).
Sure, Kaplan turbine is way more efficient but it is difficult and expensive to use it on such low water head. This bladeless ball is so dumb it can be manufactured in sweatshops and run in dirty irrigation canals from 30cm water head. The potential is huge exactly because we can not build huge river dams any mor. This turbine could utilize micro flows, tidal energy even waste water. By the way it is very efficient as a garden or kitchen cleaning tool on the standard water main.
For micro-hydropower in Europe or the US, I believe we are still running into the environmental issue. I understand in most countries, it is illegal to build hydropower even in small streams, and even if you own the land, without a lot of red tape and approval from environmental authorities.
But I would love nothing more than to be proven wrong! I hope your father succeeds in this!
Well, if you watch TFV they show a working prototype at around the 6min mark. So it's clearly a concept worth investigating further for use as a power source.
Incidentally, your comment is the type of "middlebrow dismissal" that plagues this site. You picked one small explanatory point from a relatively poorly written article, disputed it with a source from Wikipedia, and concluded by dismissing the subject of the article, an engineer's highly promising work. [Edited]
Also, as you say they've built a prototype to test the result. To be taken seriously, they should have also put a few students on the task of building a similarly sized Kaplan turbine and then compared the efficiency. It would have been very simple; there are probably even scale model Kaplan turbines that you can buy for this purpose. (It's basically just a propeller in a tube.) TFA is a bit like an SW dev coding up a new webserver, claiming it solves a case where existing ones do poorly, but then not bothering to benchmark it on that case against, say, Apache or Nginx.
Finally, the big challenges in hydropower are not in increasing efficiency or lowering cost. The challenges are that we've interrupted/dammed most large rivers already, and any new plans to build hydropower face great resistance both from NIMBYs and environmental protection groups.
That's what makes this new turbine such a brilliant fit for our times: it can work at a small, distributed scale that to my knowledge hasn't been possible with hydro before, and at significantly reduced capital costs. Additionally, there are hardly any moving parts. Of the pieces that are required, they are intrinsically durable and easy to manufacture shapes, suitable for manufacture in relatively low-tech economies.
BTW, thanks for clarifying your initial response.
And that's where you went from being part of the solution to being part of the problem.
A 500w version of this turbine requires only 1.2m of head and costs $1,550 including inverter.
I think that's significant, especially for the developing world.
No good pictures of the invention, it's only shown around 6 minutes in to the 8 minute video.
...no turbines to get clogged/wrapped with debris, and potentially better for aquatic life. If nothing else, it looks pretty cool in action.
Two major hurdles:
1. Section 404 of the EPA's Clean Water Act (aimed at normal dams and protecting fisheries) still applies to smaller scale hydro-kinetic turbines.
2. We determined the potential market wasn't sufficient after looking at detailed satellite imagery of the US and Canada river networks. It was surprisingly small compared to the potential of solar and wind.
To really solve our energy problem we need to start getting serious about nuclear funding. Including scholarships for master's and PhDs.
It is a great solution if you need off-grid power though.
> a unique hydrodynamic principle, the rolling fluid principle vortex dynamic
> which can create a large amount of energy
The first law of thermodynamics may want to hear about that.
> an output of up to 10 kWh per day
so ... 417W.
> This is enough power to meet the requirements of 5 European families
 gives German usage for one household per day as 9.6kWh