Unimpounded Hydropower for the Poor (XPRIZE Proposal)

Unimpounded Hydropower for the Poor (XPRIZE Proposal)


Hydroelectricity is one of our cheapest and
most reliable forms of renewable energy. Unfortunately, it has a lot of environmental
side effects because of its reliance on dams and moving parts, like turbines, to turn kinetic
energy into electricity. These make life difficult for salmon and a
lot of other kinds of fish, plus it’s destroying sensitive river delta ecosystems downstream. Here’s the thing- you don’t need moving parts
to generate electricity from a moving fluid. If you stick one end of a conductor into fast-flowing
water and ground the other end, the moving fluid strips electrons from the exposed end,
pulling new electrons from the ground to balance the charge. If you have a really sensitive digital multimeter
you can test this yourself- just set it to millivolts, attach one probe to a good ground
and stick the other into the flow. This basic “atredyne” produces a current that
is very small, but measurable. We need your help to turn this very simple
generator into a practical, inexpensive home atredyne that can charge something small,
say a cell phone, overnight. Doing this will transform the lives of millions,
maybe even a billion, of the world’s poorest people- folks who struggle to get basic electricity
for lighting, learning, and communication. Your design will also open the floodgates
of innovation, making possible commercial-scale atredynes so that we can finally say good-bye
to hydroelectric dams and let the poor salmon freely swim back to the spawning grounds of
their great-great-grandparents. See YOU in the XPRIZE competition!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *