The world is dependent on fossil fuels like coal, gas, and oil, which are being consumed at a startling rate. In this context, an assessment report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that was released in 2007 highlighted that the burning fossil fuels could cause irreversible changes to the Earth.
The energy industry and global governments are reportedly investing in reliable energy sources as the crude oil deposits are expected to be exhausted by 2052. It is said that nearly 64.2% of electricity globally is produced by fossil fuels, which is followed by hydroelectric plants at 18.41%.
The most common renewable energy type worldwide is hydroelectric power. And, without a dam hydropower plants (run-of-the-river) are perfect for energy generation for the settlements near rivers or streams and are a budding source of electricity. The plants are cost-efficient and are being constructed to increase efficiency and decrease costs, and also support in minimising environmental damage.
The countries like China, Canada, and Brazil are leaders in the hydroelectric power projects and have successfully implemented the plants. And, other countries like Austria, Switzerland, Norway, and Nepal could use these dam-less plants due to their natural geography. The Belgian company, Turbulent Hydro, founded in 2015 specialises in dam-less hydropower plants. In 2017, the team reportedly created a 15kW hydropower turbine, which includes a full flow of 1.8m3/s, and has useful electricity output at an efficiency of 50%. The output is reportedly sufficient to power around 60 houses in Chile at an average household power demand of 0.25kW.
The dam-less hydropower plants have advantages like lesser greenhouse effects, cleaner power, less flooding and no reservoirs needed, and low initial costs. On the downside, the plants featured, have unpredictable power and lack of availability of sites. Meanwhile, the field of renewable energy research is overflowing with innovation, and companies like Turbulent Hydro are devoted to developing new technology that would operate in lower water drops.