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An innovative axial turbine for conversion of hydro-kinetics energy to electricity for river applications.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - HyKinetics (An innovative axial turbine for conversion of hydro-kinetics energy to electricity for river applications.)

Reporting period: 2018-02-01 to 2018-07-31

While 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 €/kWh, two to five times higher than the cost of large Hydro Power (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. The mini/micro HP (m/µ) technology represents a large market opportunity for EU industries and the best feasible solution to further increase the penetration of renewable energies (Electrical Power Vision 2040 for Europe target = 40% by 2040), in a logic of energy production decentralization and distribution, coherently with the European strategy.
HyKinetics is an innovative m/µHP plant able to competitively exploit the hydro- kinetics energy of the water flow and applied in zero-head applications, without the need of fall or dam. The turbine design is based on 3-blades axial technology, specifically designed for application on rivers, water flow channels and able to be customized according to the characteristics of the installation site with only few modifications. The solution has been validated on the field thanks to the testing of a first prototype, installed on the Po river and tested for 1 year.
HyKinetics is characterized by a very low impact thanks to: the reduced size and low rotation speed of the blades (no impact on the fluvial fauna); the placement of the turbine on a floating barge easily removable, not fixed on the river bank (no impact on the river bed); the energy supply and distribution systems are fully immersed, while on the surface there are only the parts needed for maintenance (no visual impact); self-starting simply by the thrust generated by the flow of water, activating the rotary movement of the blades and eliminating the manual start-up by on-site personnel.
The innovative blades shape allows a very low water cut-in speed (1 m/s), leading to an increase of the turbine yearly productivity (up to 4,000 kWh/kW); and an unparalleled conversion efficiency, with a power coefficient Cp up to 37%.
In order to reach the market, COSBI 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, creating an optimized supply chain, protecting the intellectual property (IP) and validating the technology to the already partners and stakeholders;
-) develop and implement the HyKinetics Business Model.
The SME-Instrument Phase 1 project constituted the first step towards the achievement of the above- mentioned targets and was focused on the following main activities:
1. the selection and design of the MVP;
2. a rigorous quantification of the turbine production cost, carrying out a complete Bill of Materials (BOM), selection of suppliers and drafting the Approved Manufacturer List (AML);
3. the selection of two more sites in addition to the Po river test site, where installing the MVP prototypes for on the field validation;
4. the industrialization plan development and quantification of the production costs reductions;
5. the execution of the Customer Validation, the definition of the go-to-market strategy, the development of the SWOT analysis and of a 5-year Profit & Loss forecast;
6. the definition of a work plan and budget for the Phase 2 (PH2) project.

The main results achieved are summarized in the following:
1. The MVP Power Capacity has been selected by implementing the criteria of maximization of the application potentials and the minimization of production costs.
2. Two more sites for the installation of n.10 MVP prototypes have been selected in the downstream area of hydropower plants located in Italy.
3. Supply chain optimization was performed by integrating the selected suppliers through advanced contractual methodologies in the industrial plan.
4. A completed cost of production analysis has been developed for the MVP prototype turbine.
5. Competitor’s analysis confirmed the disruptive performance of HyKinetics solution.
6. The Customer validation confirmed the previous customer discovery.
7. A go-to-market strategy has been proposed and a SWOT analysis drafted.
8. The HyKinetics project has the potential to produce a cumulative income for COSBI of 15.9 mln € by 2025.
9. The work plan for Phase 2 project has been drafted, together with the budget needed: a total budget of 2 mln € is foreseen to carry out the Phase 2 project activities. A grant of 1.4 mln € will be required from the European Commission.
10. A Risk assessment has been performed and a Contingency plan developed to demonstrate how the HyKinetics project will manage its risk profile.
11. An IPR analysis was carried out, confirming COSBI is fully free to operate.
The characteristics of HyKinetics technology in terms of global efficiency; fixed cost €/kW; trigger water flow speed, minimum depth are not reached by the competitors proposing market solutions within the range of 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.
The resulting environmental benefits by the installation of 66 MW of HyKinetics plants, to be realized after the market launch (2021), will lead to a Green House Gases emissions reduction of 46,77 MTCO2 Eq.
HyKinetics project contributes to widening the applicability of the technology, reinforces market understanding and compliance, and thereby consolidates its position to achieve an accelerated market uptake. The most important socio-economic impacts are:
- Reduce the cost of m/µHP energy by decreasing the costs of production and increasing technology performance through a next-generation HP turbine;
- Promote industrial capacity and competitiveness, creating job opportunities and supply chain growth with new economic opportunities;
- Reduce the environmental impact of energy production;
- Improve European energy security and carbon emissions.