Two Irish companies teaming to develop hydrokinetic turbines

DesignPro Ltd. and GKinetic Energy Ltd. in Ireland are collaborating to develop a new range of run-of-river hydrokinetic turbines.

GKinetic previously engaged DesignPro to build prototypes of its technology, according to a press release. During this phase, DesignPro secured the opportunity to develop 25-kW and 60-kW devices. DesignPro applied for EU’s Horizon 2020 SME instrument and has now secured Horizon 2020 Phase 2 funding to commercialize river turbines up to 100 kW using GKinetic’s technology.

Date to be collected during the research and development aspects of the project include information needed to enable scaling up the devices to utility-size machines and relevant data for environmental impact purposes.

The GKinetic concept involves two vertical-axis turbines placed on either side of a buoyant vessel. The shape of the vessel increases the speed of water into the turbines, the company says. The combination of accelerated flow and a patent blade pitch control system results in higher power outputs, GKinetic says. The device is scalable up to 1 MW and can be deployed in arrays in rivers, oceans or estuaries.

In 2015, GKinetic won the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland Design Award. In 2016, the company demonstrated a device in the Limerick Docks at a custom test facility set up through a collaboration with Shannon Foynes Port Company.

With a total investment of €2.7 million, this work will create up to 15 jobs during the project development stage and 50 jobs after commercial rollout, GKinetic says.

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Elizabeth Ingram is content director for the Hydro Review website and HYDROVISION International. She has more than 17 years of experience with the hydroelectric power industry. Follow her on Twitter @ElizabethIngra4 .

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