Hydroelectricity Without Turbines or Dams? Vortex Hydro Energy Says It’s All About the VIV

8/17/11Follow @XconomyDET

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company has built. “The cylinder is placed horizontally in the water, and the water’s current causes it to move up and down. The energy in the movement of the cylinder is then converted to electricity.”

Simiao points out that the principle used by his company’s prototype is the same one used by fish to propel forward.

Vortex Hydro Energy successfully tested the first generation of its prototype in the St. Clair River last year. The second-generation model, tested this past spring, incorporated modifications born of that testing to improve energy generation. Ultimately, Simiao said, the company’s goal is to supply power through its generators to industrial facilities that are located near rivers and oceans.

Vortex Hydro Energy already has the support, both financial and otherwise, of several major players in the world of hydroenergy, including the U.S. Navy, the National Science Foundation, DTE and NextEnergy. A few months ago, the startup hired seven new employees to sustain its own forward momentum.

“We’ve begun working on the third-generation prototype,” Simiao says, “and we should be ready for market between 2013 and 2014.”

Sarah Schmid is the editor of Xconomy Detroit. You can reach her at 313-570-9823 or sschmid@xconomy.com. Follow @XconomyDET

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