ROTOR is a small, hydro power plant, which provides an easy way to generate electricity by using the current of a river. A vertical axis water wheel is mounted in the center of a circular tube. Induced by the flow of a river, the wheel turns like a turbine. The rotational energy is transferred by the axis to a wheel where several conventional bicycle dynamos - in the advanced version a specially designed generator - transform the kinetic energy into electricity. The rotor is fixed to the embankment, a bridge or something similar by mooring ropes. The prototype rotor consists of a tractor tire tube, flat bar steel as frame construction, bicycle dynamos and blades made of sheet. All of the used materials are substitutable and are therefore available worldwide for little money. A flow speed of 1.5m/s can provide an output of up to 150W.
An online-Do-It-Yourself manual will be created, which offers a variety of possible materials to be used. Moreover, an affordable pre-fabricated construction kit which includes the important parts, i.e. tire tube, blade profiles, canvas cover and a specific generator is being developed. The objective is to provide a stable power output of approximately 100W.
According to figures published by the International Energy Agency (IEA), 1.4 billion people do not have access to electrical energy. Over 2.5 billion people rely on traditional biomass for cooking. Access to electrical power plays a significant role in improving living conditions. Among other things, it can be used for the cold storage of food, for the use of electric pumps to gain access to drinking water and also, to provide lighting in households. In accordance with the Millennium Goals, it is important to use ecologically sustainable technology to enable access to electricity.
The Rotor uses low-cost technology and can be constructed in an easy manner. Required materials are substitutable and available worldwide. A special focus is put on recycling materials. In many regions local generation is the only possible way to get access to power. For families in rural areas with rivers nearby the Rotor means the availability of renewable energy with a permanent output (day and night). It can be used for lightening, cooling or charging batteries and mobile phones. In comparison to small PV cells and wind turbines the stream turbine has the advantage of producing energy 24/7 without the need of expensive battery storage.
The distribution of a self-built Rotor or a prefabricated construction kit could also offer opportunities for local businesses and create jobs.