Hydrovolts, Halopure and WaterTectonics See Big Opportunities in Water

2/22/11Follow @curtwoodward

Quite a few Seattle-area companies are tackling some ambitious projects that are all about water. I’m talking about clean drinking water, industrial water treatment, and innovative hydropower. Insights on all of that had people taking notes and asking plenty of questions at a cleantech confab Friday.

The event was organized through the Washington Clean Technology Alliance and hosted at the UBS offices in downtown Seattle. The three companies on hand each deal with a different facet of the world’s most vital resource, so you might think they don’t have much in common. But they all see big business opportunities in the years ahead.

Seattle-based Hydrovolts is headed by affable hydropower entrepreneur Burt Hamner. The company focuses on pairing next-generation hydroelectric systems with an ancient technology: canal systems.

Hydrovolts‘ products are small-scale turbines that bob below the surface in a canal or other waterway and create electricity as the water passes by.

Traditional hydropower, which the Pacific Northwest has a lot of experience with, needs dams and big reservoirs to generate enough speed in huge electric turbines.

But Hamner says his in-line turbines can now generate power from much slower flows because of recent advances in generator technology. He says that’s leading to the potential for the first broad adoption of smaller, in-stream hydropower devices.

“I can’t tell you what the growth rate is, because no one’s ever done it,” Hamner says.

Depending on the water conditions, Hydrovolts’ system can generate … Next Page »

Curt Woodward is a senior editor for Xconomy based in Boston. Email: cwoodward@xconomy.com Follow @curtwoodward

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