Award-Winning HydroVolt Makes a Splash in Micro Hydro

In talking about renewable and sustainable energy sources, most people think about brand new technologies. In truth, many renewable technologies are improvements and updates of energy options that have been around for centuries. The Hydrovolt is a new take on hydroelectric power that is making a splash in the micro-hydro world. The Hydrovolt is “a hydro-kinetic water turbine that floats in man-made water channels.” In other words, it puts the power of hydroelectricity in your hands.

The Hydrovolt can power up to ten houses along a waterway
The Hydrovolt can power up to ten houses along a waterway

According to their video, the one Hydrovolt unit can power up to ten homes, which could make for a revolutionary community change- something they make very clear is a goal in their mission statement:

“We are committed to the development of sustainable communities supported by renewable hydrokinetic energy. Water resources are almost always a major concern to their local communities. They cannot be developed and sustained above the micro-scale unless there is local support and capability.”

Burt Hamner, co-founder and CEO of Hydrovolts, Inc., emphasizes this point.

“A lot of times people thing sustainability is a PR wash… It’s a lot more than that- it really has to do with, ‘How do you manage a business for the long term in a way that benefits not only the company but also the society and communities around it.”

And the Hydrovolt doesn’t just talk the talk, they swim the swim. So far in November, the Hydrovolt won the National Sustainability Award at Clean Tech Open and has been recognized as a Finalist in the Newpreneur Contest. They plan to start building units for sale in late 2010, and are currently looking for demo sites. If you are interested in being one of those demo sites, visit their website or email them at sales at

Find out more with this video introduction to the Hydrovolt. My favorite scene is a guy standing at the side of the channel, smiling and holding a lightbulb directly energized by the Hydrovolt- it’s a hopeful image, one that speaks to the greater hope offered by small-scale hydropower. These are the kind of bright ideas that make community-focused, sustainable energy a reality.

Written by Scott James

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