Floating Waterwheel Could Revolutionize Micro Hydroelectric Power Generation

A new hydroelectric device, the Hydro-Electric Barrel (HEB) could bring renewable power generation as close as the nearest flowing water, making micro-hydro a reality for many who live near streams and rivers. The inventors claim it to be both efficient and cost-effective, as well as being less intrusive to the environment than other hydroelectric solutions.

river and trees
Daniil Silantev / Unsplash

The HEB can be suspended over any river or stream, and possibly implemented in the ocean to take advantage of wave energy as well. The design is deceptively simple: a one-piece large plastic wheel within a frame, spinning with the flow of water. What’s not so obvious is the internal design: a set of two integral planet gear driven permanent magnet generators turning the motion into usable power.

According to the inventors, the advantages of the HEB are many: compared to conventional waterwheels, it operates quietly and is easy to transport and install. The machine is also environmentally friendly because of its shallow draft in the water and has a low capital outlay per kilowatt. The HEB doesn’t interrupt the flow of the water and can adjust to changing water levels while rolling over any debris in the flow.

Hydro Electric Barrel
Photo Courtesy of Hydro Electric Barrel

The HEB could also be modular, so for more power, another generator can be installed either in parallel or in a series in the river. The hydroelectric device is also being developed with a tidal estuary variant which can be powered by both tides and waves.

Mike Lowery and Paul Price, the team behind the HEB, say they have a US manufacturer interested, and welcome inquiries for other possible producers of the product. For more information see the Hydro Electric Barrel website.

Written by Derek Markham


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  1. Hello, we have a home using solor panels but we have a stream running through the property, in this area we have three homes all not more than 200ft. apart. thank you

  2. necesito comprar el sistema para rio de 1 m/seg de velocidad, que pueda dar 1kw de potencia, por favor cuanto cuesta y como puedo adequirir, estoy en peru

  3. i believe a product that can use the tide to supply power to the home would be well recieved in my area,i am considering opening a company that uses the tide to supply energy to there homes.my area has thousands of high dollar homes, the power source would have to be attatched to a pier,the tides that run in and out of our barrior islands moves in and out fast,your product looks very good to me,its simple and i feel could stand up to our harsh enviroment better than others that are more complicated in there desighn,i dont know how much power your product puts out,and probly wouldnt understand any answer that dosnt break it down example this devise would supply enouph power to heat the water heater,
    a comamy in my area that could offer a free power source from the pier they already have to thier home may do well,
    thank you,i am ready to get a product available to our area are you interesed,
    bobby perrault

  4. The town of Lansing NC is looking to expand the current 6 acre park to 44 acres, we have pristine mountain trout waters and will not damn the flow, so we are investigating floating water wheels that generate electricity that we will sell to the power company to create revenue for our park. I especially like the design or the one here I see on your page. Please contact me on kw hr produced and pricing for such water wheel.
    Thank You
    Ann Rose

    • Hello Ann i have a floating Hydro Power called the Turbo Float it can produce from 2kw to 10kw .If you need power from low flowing rivers eg 16in deep min .

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