Get More Energy from Low Flows with Hydrovolts’ Flipwing Pivoting Turbine

March 10th, 2012 by Rosemary Ostfeld* Leave a reply »


Hydrovolts, a Washington-based company, specializes in hydrokinetic turbines.  The company has created turbines that can be used to generate energy in canals, waterfalls, and remote locations.

Hydrovolts owns U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2010/0237626 (‘626 Application), entitled “Hinged blade cross-axis turbine for hydroelectric power generation” and directed to a water turbine having pivotable blades.

Water turbine (120) is disposed in frame (110), and a turbine shaft axis (122) lies in the center of the frame (110).  The frame is connected to two electric power generators (105), found on either side of the device.


The technology’s pivoting blades (126 A, B, C & D), which Hydrovolts calls the flipwing rotor, differentiate it from most other turbines. As water (90) flows through the device, it comes in contact with blades that pivot around blade axes (125).

The pivoting nature of the blades allows for a high level of blade surface area to maintain contact with the water as it flows through the device.

According to the ‘626 Application, this innovation provides several important advantages.  First, less force is required to move each blade because each blade has its own axis in addition to a central axis.

Also, more energy can be harnessed than in a device made of the same amount of material without pivoting blades. 

Finally, lifting forces drive the device, allowing for it to operate in low flow conditions while many other turbines have a “stall-speed,” or minimum speed required to drive the device.

See a video of a Hydrovolts hydrokinetic turbine in action here and this Greentech Media piece about the company’s plan to generate hydropower from wastewater treatment plants.

Rosemary Ostfeld is a contributor to Green Patent Blog.  Rosemary recently completed both her undergraduate and graduate education at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut.  She double majored in Biology, and Earth & Environmental Sciences as an undergraduate, and received her Master’s in Earth & Environmental Sciences.



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