creating free hydraulic turbine technology

democratizing hydraulic power across sectors and countries 

 

Established in 2015 by five engineering students from Grenoble University, Hydr’Open is a French cooperative aiming to develop and distribute accessible micro hydraulic turbine technology. More specifically, the team is building its vision via a Banki-type turbine that could be dispatched worldwide to as many people as possible without electricity access. Hydr’Open aims to design and manufacture its products using the fewest means and fewest materials possible while producing enough hydraulic energy to power a lightbulb, radiator, or refrigerator.

 

We started this project to provide a clean solution to energy access issues, which would improve education access issues through lighting in schools and homes, health, development of economic activities, and food security through electrical systems. On the other hand, this project also aims to reach populations who already have access to electricity but who want to participate in the energy transition,’ writes the association.

french cooperative hydr'open is on a mission to create free hydraulic turbine technology
Banki Demonstrator, Grenoble INP (2022) | all images courtesy of Hydr’Open

 

 

hydr’open demonstrates the potential of micro hydraulics 

 

Growing energy needs, climate change, the rise in fossil fuel prices, and the loss of confidence in nuclear power are all reasons that have precipitated the rise of renewable energies in the 21st century. The last few years have especially seen an increase in two modes of production: solar and wind.

 

Micro hydraulics, the technology behind Hydr’Open, did not experience the same evolution during this period. ‘The potential of micro-hydraulics in France is only very little exploited: among other things, between 50,000 and 100,000 old hydraulic sites could lend themselves to micro-hydroelectricity, therefore a powerful development. In other countries, the hydraulic potential is great, particularly for a large part of the African continent […] where the need for electricity and the hydraulic potential are superimposed,’ continues the team. 

 

Technically, the Hydr’Open turbine would operate in rural zones with no electricity access, close to water sources with flow rates of a few hundred liters per second. Regardless of the location, the goal is to produce 50kW of power with one turbine.

french cooperative hydr'open is on a mission to create free hydraulic turbine technology
Hydr’Open was established by students from Grenoble

 

 

In 2021 and 2022, the cooperative tested its ideas across three collaborations: The Banki Demonstrator (2022) and transmission test bench for a car alternator (2021), both conducted with first-year students at Grenoble INP, and finally, the Khum’eau Mission (2022) in Uzbekistan. The latter was organized alongside Deux Gouttes d’eau (2GE), environmental researcher Thibault Péan, and Grenoble graduate Léo Desmulliez. 

french cooperative hydr'open is on a mission to create free hydraulic turbine technology
using as little material as possible to build the turbines

french cooperative hydr'open is on a mission to create free hydraulic turbine technology
the technology would hopefully be distributed globally to regions that lack access to electricity

french cooperative hydr'open is on a mission to create free hydraulic turbine technology
the team is aiming to achieve 50kW of power

french cooperative hydr'open is on a mission to create free hydraulic turbine technology
transmission test bench for a car alternator, Grenoble INP (2021)

 

 

 

 

project info:

 

name: Hydr’open

founded: 2015

technology: Bank-type hydraulic turbine 



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