Hydropower innovations showcased in new online renewable energy hub

In China, robots using artificial intelligence are being deployed to monitor hydropower plant efficiency and decrease maintenance costs. Elsewhere, in Europe, hydropower battery hybrids are being developed to improve grid services, while in North America a ‘hyperloop for fish’ has been designed to safely transport fish past dams.

These are just some of the remarkable industry innovations from around the world showcased in the International Hydropower Association’s new Renewable Energy Innovations Hub, launched for the 2021 World Hydropower Congress.

As the planet rapidly scales up its efforts to decarbonise the global energy grid and meet net zero carbon targets, investors and manufacturers have turned their attention to innovation to help shape the smart energy grids of the future.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) projected in its flagship Net Zero by 2050 report that “in 2050, almost half the reductions [in emissions will] come from technologies that are currently at the demonstration or prototype phase. Major innovation efforts must take place this decade in order to bring these new technologies to market in time.”

IHA’s new Renewable Energy Innovations Hub provides a platform for companies to help share knowledge and showcase their latest innovations. Innovations fall under three broad themes: technology; research; and environmental, social and governance.

IHA Chief Executive Eddie Rich said: “The IEA estimates innovation will play a huge role in the smart energy grid of the future. Hydropower and other sources of renewable energy must ramp up their efforts to innovate to help reach the stable, flexible future energy grid we need.

“The newly created Renewable Energy Innovations Hub provides a platform for innovators across the sector to highlight new approaches, research and technologies in the way we produce, store and transmit energy to ensure renewables work together.”

Innovations already featured on the Hub include:

- Nessie (France), a dredging submarine robot

- WireScan (Canada), a high-accuracy 3D scanning tool for dam walls and gates

- StreamDiver (Germany), a small turbine generator to power existing dams and weirs

- Baihetan’s 1,000 MW turbine (China)

- EcoFlot (Russia) an autonomous oxygenation platform for hydropower reservoirs

- Hydropower smart remote O&M system (China), an AI-powered solution for O&M

- NatureMetrics (UK)’s environmental DNA sampling kit

- HydroSpider (Switzerland), providing a local ecosystem for green hydrogen

- A flexible fish passage portal (USA) that can be retrofitted on existing infrastructure

- A hybrid turbine-battery solution to improve grid services (France)

The Renewable Energy Innovations Hub launched as a part of the World Hydropower Congress. Register for free to the Congress to learn more about hydropower’s role in the clean energy transition.

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