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Hydropower turbines for electricity generation


Providing electricity to the isolated Nasa population in Colombia

The indigenous Nasa population along the Ingüitó river in Colombia uses firewood for cooking and household chores. The continuous use of firewood as an energy source has led to deforestation and poor indoor air quality in their homes.

Their livelihood is primarily based on agricultural activities, where they cultivate crops such as coffee, bananas, maize, beans, sugarcane, and fruits. Although there is a rudimentary electricity grid present, the energy supply is unreliable.

Due to this lack of electricity, they rely on rudimentary manual tools to process agricultural production and are unable to keep their harvests cool. The absence of a consistent power supply poses a significant obstacle to both economic and social progress in the region.

Continuous green energy for the Nasa population

Together with the local NGO CODEBV, Turbulent will install hydropower turbines along the Ingüitó River to generate green energy. These turbines will be connected to the existing local electricity grid.

The local population will install the hydropower turbines themselves using schematics and manuals. They will be trained in the operation and maintenance of the turbines, which will be remotely monitored and controlled through software. The excess energy will be sold, providing additional income for the communities.

An additional challenge is the waste issue in the Ingüitó River. Approximately 500 tons of waste flow through the river each day, originating from nearby mines. Small natural waste such as leaves and stones pass effortlessly through the turbines or are caught by the trash rack. However, larger objects like branches can potentially cause damage to the turbine, posing significant risks to the system's efficiency and output. An obstacle detection system is being developed to prevent such damage.

Expected results

Along the Ingüitó River, three hydropower turbines, each with a capacity of 50 kW, will be installed, providing approximately 7,000 people with green electricity. These turbines will produce 1,182,600 kWh annually, resulting in a saving of 237 tons of felled trees and a reduction of 200 tons of CO2eq emissions per year compared to the current energy mix.

The design of these autonomously installed hydropower turbines is being standardized, allowing this demonstration project to be implemented in other locations as well.

Project coordinator
Total budget
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Project type
Demonstration project

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Maria Elvira Zeman

Maria Elvira Zeman

Business Developer Turbulent