500W Backpack Hydroelectric Plant

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Here’s something new and exciting in the small hydroelectric power segment:

A human-portable hydroelectric generator that weighs about 30 pounds and generates 500 watts of power may soon be a new option for off-grid power.

Backpack Hydroelectric Plant Gives You 500 Watts on the MoveDeveloped by Bourne Energy of Mailbu, California, the Backpack Power Plant can create clean, quiet power from any stream deeper than 4 feet.

The company showed off its more-rugged, militarized version of the Backpack Power Plant at the Cleantech Forum in San Francisco last week. Bourne Energy CEO Chris Catlin estimates the system will cost $3,000 after it goes into production.

“The BPP-2, which operates silently with no heat or exhaust emissions, is 40 percent less visible during operation and can also be bottom mounted to be totally invisible,” the company maintains.

To install the civilian BPP, you would dig two trenches on opposite sides of a river and insert a lightweight anchor into each. Then, you’d run a synthetic rope between the anchors and the BPP. Catlin said his company designed the system to work like the high-tension mooring systems that hold up floating oil rigs.

“This can bring a cheap, highly portable energy technology to remote areas and remote villages,” Catlin told Wired.com.

Photo courtesy Bourne Energy

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