Rotor, a low-cost DIY solution for millions of people to get energy from water

With more than 1.1 billion people worldwide without access to electricity, any proposal to reverse the trend adds up. And this is what is proposed by a team of German experts, who have found a low cost system that could provide power to at least a quarter of this population. Specifically, one who lives near a stream in which to install Rotor.

Behind this name hides a small portable and low cost hydraulic power generator promoted by Hydro mobile by artist Markus Heeinsdorff and environmental engineer Andreas Zeiselmair. The experience accumulated during their travels in places like Ecuador or Cameroon (Africa, moreover, concentrates more than 50% of the world population which lives outside the network) led them to reflect and to rethink to form a system capable of covering them. Needs.

Durable for the environment and pocket-sized with DIY options (Do it yourself or do it yourself), as well as reliable and capable of delivering power day and night. These are some of the main lines of this invention. As seen in the photos, the simplicity of its materials is one of the keys to making it affordable (and therefore useful) for the populations it aims to benefit in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

A tire, steel (sheet metal and inner tube) and a generator are the centerpieces of this solution to obtain energy from the flow of water in rivers, streams or any other stream. “It is made with materials available worldwide”, say the creators. In their absence, recycled materials and a little ingenuity to combine them also goes for anyone to fashion this mechanism.

And it is that this German team has not only designed the proposal and hopes to launch it in the form of a prefabricated kit. At the same time, it is committed to promoting a community that promotes the arrival of electricity in areas that still do not have access to it. For him, the promoters of this idea undertake to share it on the network so that interested people can build their own solution. “It uses low cost technology and can be easily made by almost anyone.”, they provide this alternative to convert the energy generated by the movement of water into electricity.

For this, simplicity is reproduced in the operation of the system. Composed of a waterwheel (the tire), a vertical axis and three blades, the movement of the rotor with the flow of water causes it to act as an electric turbine which continuously supplies energy. It is simply because the water does not stop flowing because night is falling or because the day is getting cloudy.

With this reliability, the proposal can reach a capacity between 100 and 300 W. With this, it would not only be possible for light to reach homes, but also for food or medicine to be refrigerated there, among other of the many possibilities that electricity opens up. For this reason, Heeinsdorff is confident that Rotor, or the instructions for making it, will heat up and favor as a replacement for diesel generators or kerosene lamps that communities that still live off the grid turn to. Moreover, a third of those who have stopped doing so in recent years are now supplied with renewable energies, particularly geothermal and hydraulic, according to the 2017 Energy Access Report from the International Energy Organization, the solution may therefore be on the right track.