Last week, at an energy conference in Mexico City, a friend of Rios Mayas met Sr. Eugenio Laris of CFE under whose supervision the planning for the Rio Usumacinta is progressing. A note from this friend reads as follows:
"He told me that CFE is not planning any construction of dams or other structures that would be intrusive.They are looking for ways to have the natural flow of the river provide some energy...I told him that CFE should get ahead of the curve and meet with the people who are concerned about what they may be up to on the river. He agreed that that would be a good idea."
We've heard something of this before, but it is good to hear it in a fairly direct fashion. With this in mind, we begin collecting information on submersible hydroelectric turbines and other non-intrusive technologies in preparation for a meeting with Sr. Eugenio Laris.
Here's a note on a prticularly efficient turbine design:
This page - Tidepool | Tapping Gravity - has this summary of Gorlov's work:
...Gorlov says a collection of his turbines could be assembled in a grid to create a "power farm" for larger scale generation. He recently designed a system for the South Korean government that could generate 80 megawatts - enough to power 80,000 houses without the need for a dam. Silent and with little disruption to the estuary or river, Gorlov's turbines could be constructed at a cost of just $400 to $600 per kilowatt when put into full production.
Here's another prototype that was tested on the St. Lawrence Seaway for two years:
One issue with conventional dams is the free passage of fish. Approaches to insure this (in this case, for salmon) are described here:
This overview from the Union of Concerned Scientists points out the problems of large hydroelectric dams and the case for improving run-of-the-river turbine technology.
And this PDF has another good overview of microhydro systems:Posted by Dave at November 16, 2003 11:48 PM