Windcity tests the first hydrokinetic turbine in Northern France: Clean energy from water
The first turbine in water was tested in Boulogne-sur-Mer, in the laboratories of Ifremer, the French research institute for marine resources. As with air, our Windcity turbine exploits variable geometry and makes it suitable for working with any turbulent water current.
What have we tested?
We tested the first Windcity aquatic prototype, created thanks to Seed Money grant of the Trentino Province and the Marinet 2 European project, in collaboration with the INSEAN National Research Council and the University of Pisa.
During the test in Boulogne-sur-Mer, the prototype – a 1: 3 unit scalable up to 10 kW – was immersed in a tank three meters wide and two deep, the unit was subjected to artificial waves up to 1 , 5 meters per second, a power that reproduces that of the ocean.
This allows us to validate the potential of what we call “passive variable geometry”: in fact, our turbine – unlike traditional fixed geometry hydrokinetic devices – is able to adjust itself, adapting to the change of water flows without the need human intervention. Settling according to the natural shape of the currents, this type of technology expands the field of use and also allows the energy of rivers to be exploited, without dams and large infrastructures.
How did it go?
The first week of tests was a real challenge, it allowed us to collaborate with three important applied research institutions. Impressed by the innovative reach of the device, the French researchers decided to give us the opportunity of a second week of testing in 2020, to understand how to improve the prototype and its behavior in the water. To date, however, we have not yet managed to complete the experimental campaign in Northern France, a place that only a few months ago seemed so close, while today complications and delays show the difficult coexistence with Covid19 of a start-up that manufactures hardware innovative.
For Tommaso – our founder – it is an incredible challenge: “trying the turbine in an advanced ocean laboratory is impressive, because it forces you, as an inventor, to confront the disruptive force of water”.
What are the advantages of our “aquatic” turbine?
In addition to clean energy, the innovation will bring benefits in terms of circular economy – it can be used, for example, as part of the efficiency of large water discharge systems – or by providing the energy necessary to operate the new air bubble curtains. which serve to stop the plastic in rivers before it reaches the sea.
What happens now?
The conditions are excellent. The international interest shown in this type of technology is strong and makes us understand that we are proceeding in the right direction. We therefore hope to be able to carry out the next tests as soon as possible to accelerate the prototype phase and then move on to the first experiments in the marine environment.
In the meantime, we are organizing to participate in tenders related to technologies in the marine context … we keep you updated!