Kinetic turbines planned for 100-kW Zambia site

UEK Corp. of the United States is preparing for installation of in-stream kinetic hydropower turbines in Zambia’s Zambezi River.

The pilot project, to be in place by late 2007 near the Chitokoloki Mission Hospital, consists of two 8-foot-diameter turbines of 50-kW each.

Called underwater electric kites, the UEK units are anchored to the bottom of the river by a cable, with no dam or other impoundment. Controlled by a computer, the turbines ascend of descend until they locate the layer of water with the fastest current.

UEK, which is working with Zambia Electricity Supply Corp., says the underwater electric kites can be installed anywhere flow velocity exceeds 2 meters per second. Minimum depth of water for placement of the turbine is 120 percent of the diameter of the unit.

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