Hydroelectricity, one of the most widely used form of renewable energy, has disadvantages to its credit owing to destruction of agriculturally productive low land and alteration in the flow of river. Aravind Venukumar, a NIT Calicut grad, decided to make hydropower even more eco-friendly than its non-renewable counterparts and came up with a solution that included the pros of hydropower and nullified its minuses.
Aravind significantly focused on quashing the disfavors like construction of a dam, high setup cost, and technical complexity. That led to birth of Artificial Vortex project.
Water has a natural tendency to form whirlpools and the project is rightly based on leveraging this tendency of water. By artificially creating a whirlpool (i.e.Vortex), the project intends to generate power through the kinetic energy of flowing water. A powerful rotation tank is used to create the potent gravitation water vortex. One of the add-on is that the water is exposed to the fresh air through this method. A methodology that voids the construction of a dam, works on the low flow rate of river. What makes the project although more feasible is the low cost factor and capability to leverage on the miniscule water bodies and tributaries that are often left unharnessed.
Unlike the conventional hydropower generation technique, water flow does not stop, but a new path is created that is conscientious for creation of eco-friendly electricity. If one deeps dive into the specifications, one will be amazed to find out that minimum head requirement will be 0.7m and minimum flow rate to be dismally low as 20 litres per second. The head requirement is defined as difference between the source and water’s outflow. As the vortex is created artificially and within control, the longevity in the life of the turbine is substantial owing to the reduced wear and tear of turbine unlike in the conventional hydropower generation.
The product is in the exhibit stage with a quantifiable output of 252 KW and expected to be completed in six to twelve months. According to one research, run-of-the-river hydropower, which this technology is an epitome of, has the potential to generate 60, 000 MW of hydropower worldwide. The report also goes on to say that the propensity of such projects getting a backing of environmental agencies and NGOs is higher as they have minimal impacts from an environmental viewpoint.
Incubated at Startup Village, Artificial Vortex is one of those distinguished startups that have formally got selected by the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB). The Energy Open Innovation Zone, the wing of KSEB looking into innovative ways to generate electricity, is mulling to adopt the power generation methodology formulated by the startups to solve the electricity crunch in Kerala. Interestingly. KSEB has also backed the Artificial Vortex with a financial aid of INR 12 Lakhs.