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Water flow kinetics energy exploitation for mini/micro hydropower plants.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - RIVER-POWER (Water flow kinetics energy exploitation for mini/micro hydropower plants.)

Reporting period: 2017-06-01 to 2017-10-31

Although Small HydroPower (< 10 MW) represents the largest market opportunity for hydropower industries and the best feasible solution to further increase the penetration of renewable energies, its market penetration is stopped by the too high Levelized Cost of Electricity (within the range 0.10-0.27 USD/kWh, two to five times higher than the cost of large HP plants) and the low conversion efficiency when applied to low water falls (low-head applications < 2 m), although this situation represents about 70% of Small HydroPower potentially exploitable applications.
RIVER-POWER is an innovative mini/micro HP plant able to competitively exploit the hydro-kinetics energy of the water flow and applied in zero-head applications, without any fall and dam required. The turbine can be used to harvest energy from rivers but also from sea and tidal currents with a few modifications. The turbine design is based on the wind vertical-axis technology which can operate also if blades are only partially submerged (during dry periods), in contrast to the horizontal-axis turbines. The approach has already been demonstrated on the field and now the conclusive improvement of the concept has to be performed by means of a design optimization focused on the reduction of the mechanical resistances, thereby improving the conversion efficiency and reducing the fixed and operative costs, paving the way to the launch of the first commercial product in the hydropower market.

In order to reach the market, EOL Power needs to:
• select the power capacity of the Minimum Viable Product (MVP);
• design the MVP and test the final prototype in an operational environment, to reach TRL9;
• industrialize the technology, protecting the intellectual property (IP), creating an optimized supply chain and launching the technology to prospective investors;
• develop and implement the commercialization strategy.
"The SME-Instrument Phase 1 project constituted the first step towards the achievement of the project targets and was focused on the following main activities:
1. the selection and design of the MVP (10 kW);
2. the definition of the business model and of the go-to-market strategy, the development of a 5-year Profit & Loss forecast and of the SWOT analysis;
3. a rigorous quantification of the turbine construction cost, the development of a complete bill of material, selection of suppliers for key components (3 letters of intent signed);
4. the definition of a work plan and budget for the Phase 2 project;
5. the selection of two sites where installing the MVP prototypes for on the field validation;
6. the definition of the regulations and standards to be followed for hydropower turbine installation;
7. IPR and ""freedom to operate"" analysis.

The main results achieved are summarized in the following:

1. The MVP Power Capacity equal to 10 kW has been selected by implementing the maximization of the application potentials and the minimization of cost of production criteria.
2. Further tests on the 4 kW prototypes have confirmed the validation of the design tool developed by EOL. By this tool, the 10 kW MVP unit has been preliminary designed. The power value of 10 kW at 2 m/s with a frontal area of 8 m2 is obtained with a power efficiency of 0.39 for the fixed pitch scaled turbine which is sensibly higher than the 0.31 of the fixed pitch 4 kW turbine due to fluid dynamics effects.
3. Two sites for the installation of the final MVP prototypes have been selected: Comune of Robilante in the North of Italy and the downstream area of the hydropower plant called ""Ex Covatta"" located on the river Biferno. Letters of intent with the Mayor of Robilante and with the company EPM S.r.l. which has access to the downstream area, were signed.
4. Competitor’s analysis has been updated and confirmed the disruptive performance of RIVER-POWER solution.
5. Supply chain has been revised. Three strategic suppliers (electrical component and mechanical components procurement, turbine blades fabrication) have been contacted and LoI signed.
6. A completed cost of production analysis has been developed for the 10 kW prototype turbine. The total cost of the prototype is quantified at 84.3 k€ including Installations and Authorization procedure (127.3 k€ for a 20kW array configuration with two turbines, 170 k€ for a 30kW array configuration with three turbines).
7. The work plan for Phase 2 project has been drafted, together with the budget needed: a total budget of 1.100.000 € is foreseen to carry out the Phase 2 project activities. A grant of 770.000 € will be required from the European Commission, while the equity of 330.000 € will be provided by a mix of own resources and bank loans.
8. A go-to-market strategy has been proposed and a SWOT analysis drafted.
9. A preliminary Risk Analysis has been performed and a Risk Mitigation strategy developed to demonstrate how the RIVER-POWER project will manage its risk profile.
10. An IPR analysis was carried out, confirming EOL Power is fully free to operate.
11. The regulations for hydropower plant installation in Italy, Germany and France have been listed and studied.
The characteristics of RIVER POWER technology (global efficiency = 32%; Fixed Cost < 3.000 €/kW for most of the configurations; trigger water flow speed of about 2 m/s, minimum depth of 2.5 m and width of 3.6 m) are not reached by the competitors proposing market solutions within the range 5 - 50 kW. The simultaneous achievement of the cost of production and efficiency targets will allow the development of a break-through product able to revolutionize the Small HydroPower market.

From an environmental point of view, the installation of 200 MW of RIVER-POWER plants, to be achieved after the market launch (2021), will lead to a Green House Gases emissions reduction of 500 kton/year of CO2,eq.

Other socio-economic impacts are:
• new employment creation in energy sector (overall, more than 1000 new job positions);
• increased security of distributed electricity supply;
• scientific and industrial development in a high technology sector;
• European SMEs competitiveness improvement;
• avoided fossil fuel costs for EU.
River-Power prototype testing