Hydropower is the energy derived from moving water. Unlike solar and wind, hydro energy is predictable and, hence, more reliable. Besides, hydroelectric dams, as well as ocean-based energy harnessed from tides, currents, and waves, offer high energy density while reducing dependency on conventional sources.
The innovations in these renewable sources focus on energy converters and component improvements for harvesting energy more efficiently. Within hydropower, small-scale hydroelectric dams and tidal barrages enable decentralized energy generation. Ocean thermal energy conversion (OETC) harnesses energy through the thermal gradient created between the surface and deep water.
Some startups are also converting the salinity gradient formed due to the osmotic pressure difference between seawater and river into usable energy.
Seabased provides Modular Wave Energy Converter (WECs)
Seabased is an Irish startup that develops modular wave energy converters. These WECs are buoys on the surface connected with linear generators resting on the seabed. The moving waves provide energy to the buoys thereby generating electric power. The startup’s patented switchgear converts the power into electricity for grid use.
Moreover, the WECs can withstand harsh seas, enabling a flexible wave park expansion with high efficiency. Seabased’s solutions, thus, allow energy offshore companies and local coastal communities to generate wave energy as an alternative or hybrid to wind.
Green Energy Development (GED) Company designs Microturbines
Iranian startup GED Company offers microturbines for distributed generation of hydroelectricity from water streams like canals and rivers. The startup’s floating drum turbine (FDT) consists of an undershot waterwheel that floats on the water stream using a buoyant skid and is anchored with cables or hinged arms. The rotation of FDT by the stream produces electricity. The solution is low-cost, efficient, and ensures reliable distributed generation for electrification in remote and underdeveloped locations.
2. Wind Energy
Despite being one of the oldest energy resources, the rapidly evolving nature of the wind energy sector makes it one of the major trends. Startups are devising offshore and airborne wind turbines to reduce the demand for land-based wind energy. Innovations in this field often integrate with other energy sources such as floating wind turbines, solar, or tidal energy.
To further improve efficiency, there are constant advances in the aerodynamic designs of the blades. Startups also develop efficient generators and turbines for high-energy conversion. The sustainability of blade material is one of the challenges the industry faces today. To tackle this, startups are creating bladeless technologies and recyclable thermoplastic materials to manufacture blades.
Hydro Wind Energy offers Hybrid Hydro-Wind System
Based out of UAE, UK, and the US, Hydro Wind Energy provides a hybrid energy system. The startup’s product, OceanHydro, harnesses offshore altitude wind using kites or vertical axis wind rotors. It then combines wind energy production power from subsea oceanic pressure to obtain low-cost electrical energy and grid-scale storage.
Since the energy from the subsea is available on demand, such a hybrid solution is more reliable than offshore wind energy systems. This allows energy companies to maintain a continuous and higher base load for the grid.
Helicoid enhances Wind Blade Quality
Helicoid is a US-based startup that provides enhanced blade quality during wind blade manufacturing. The enhanced blade is produced as a result of changes in stacking and rotation of sheets of parallel fibers to form a helicoid structure. These blades have higher resistance to impact, erosion, and fatigue while also possessing higher strength and stiffness. This reduces maintenance and downtime costs as well as offers sustainable and energy-efficient blades for large-scale windmills.