New technology proposed for unique pumped-storage hydro application

Humpback Hydro Inc. proposes a new pumped-storage technology that could be installed offshore in the ocean or in a large lake as a platform, without construction of a dam.

This technology — which the company says is flexible and scalable from 1 MW to 1,000 MW or more — involves a platform located meters offshore that hosts large holding tanks. Water would be pumped from the body of water into the tanks, then be run through turbines before being returned to the ocean or lake. The platforms would be equipped with wind generators and solar collectors to generate power, including that needed for the pumping process.

In addition, these platforms could be used to desalinate water for drinking and agricultural use and are capable of supporting housing and commercial developments, says Mark Legacy, president of Humpback Hydro. Building these systems near population or high-demand centers minimizes the length of transmission lines required, the company says.

The system uses durable concrete for marine environments and is designed to be low maintenance, Humpback Hydro says.

The company, which is based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, is working with three departments of the National Research Council of Canada to develop a scale-model pilot project and then a natural environment pilot project. This work is being undertaken as part of NRC’s Energy Storage for Grid Security and Modernization research program, announced on Oct. 7. The program is designed to look at integrating renewable energy technologies into Canada’s electricity infrastructure by overcoming technical and cost barriers to grid-scale energy storage.

The company is now seeking industry partners and investors to further development of this concept.

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