"This is actually the very first hybrid system—wind energy and ocean energy."
Krouse is the inventor of this technology to harness ocean currents.
"So, came up with the concepts of this what they call an optimized dual-ducted turbine. It has a really high efficiencies, and if it's pointing in the water that's going in the same direction all the time."
Ed: "And it's movable so that you change, according to..."
"That's correct. It's very much like a rudder on a boat. It'll have a little fin on the back of it that helps it orient into the proper direction so it's always facing directly into the water current."
Hydro Green Energy is working with Wind Energy Systems Technology Group, which owns four offshore leases where the projects might be located. The wind and water power projects would be situated six to ten miles offshore. But Krouse says the turbines can also be used downstream from power projects in rivers.
"Folks have seen rivers flowing by. Basically all we're doing with this technology is putting a very slow-rotating turbine in the water — which is very much like a revolving door, in terms of its speed, at a hotel or at the airport — and we're using that revolving door, if you will, to capture the available energy instead of wasting it. And that energy is actually very valuable, and we can produce that at a very cost-competitive number. And hopefully, with these projects we'll be able to help Texas meet more of its renewable energy goals."
Hydro Green Energy is currently developing river, tidal and ocean power projects in several states. But Krouse says a lot of regulatory hurdles have to be jumped over the next few months.
"Unfortunately, hydropower is the most heavily-regulated of all energy sources in the United States — even more so than nuclear power, or liquified natural gas. We filed ten preliminary permit applications with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. That will give us the right to determine what the currents are like in those areas, determine if the project economics would be suitable to developing the project."
The House Appropriations Committee recently approved $30 million in research and development funding for ocean and marine renewable technologies for 2009. A 2007 study by the Electric Power Research Institute found the U.S. could develop at least 123,000 megawatts of river and ocean-based hydrokinetic energy by 2025. Hydro Green Energy plans to build a manufacturing facility next year, hoping to create about 100 jobs.
Ed Mayberry, KUHF Houston Public Radio News.