Mar 182010

Backpack Power Plant

Hydroelectric power specialist Bourne Energy has developed a human-portable hydroelectric generator which can create clean, quiet power from any stream deeper than four feet.

The “Backpack Power Plant”, which joins the company’s Riverstar, Oceanstar and Tidalstar designs, is aimed at bringing cheap, practical energy technology to remote areas.

Bourne Energy has developed two versions of the BPP; BPP-1 is aimed at civilians, while BPP-2 is designed for the military and was recently unveiled at the Cleantech Forum in San Francisco. Both measure three feet in length and weigh less than 30 pounds, though the military version is 10% lighter. Both are self-contained with their own integrated power, control, cooling and sensor systems. They collapse into a backpack-sized module comprising three parts; the generator, hub and folded stored blades.

While the military BPP-2 unit produces 20% more power (600W) of high quality continuous power depending on river current, the civilian BPP-1 unit produces approximately 500 W/unit but was not designed to work with a variety of flow rates and produces optimum energy in streams moving at 2.3 meters per second. Both can be arranged singularly or in arrays of 20-30 kW. The BPP-2 however operates silently with no heat or exhaust emissions, is 40% less visible during operation and can also be bottom-mounted to ensure total invisibility if required.

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