Innovations making waves in water efficiency

It’s the most widely used source of renewable energy and generates 16 per cent of the world’s electricity alone. But there’s nothing new about water – or is there? The second edition of the EDF Pulse awards would seem to suggest there is, highlighting the fact that innovation goes hand in hand with adaptation. While hydropower conjures up images of huge power plants next to rivers, spectacular dams and huge reservoirs, Vortex Generator is designed to generate electric current from the weakest of water courses. According to Turbulent, the Belgian company behind the project, currents with flows in the region of 0.3 m/s are sufficient to generate between five and 200 kilowatts of power. The technology could be installed in rivers, streams and brooks throughout the countryside.
Another example of using minimal resources is ShoWED, a system that has been tested on the shores of Lake Garda. It is designed to harness the gentlest of waves (from heights of five centimetres) to generate voltage. And when the wave height reaches 25 cm, it can even work as a seawater desalination plant. At such a height, any riverside or coastal location could be a promising source of energy. These two types of generators could really revolutionize the current geographical map in terms of water usage: while the current dominant approach is to harness power from European, North American and Chinese rivers, these systems are chiefly aimed at countries that suffer from drought or have an extensive coastline.
Jellyfish Barge shares this ambition. A kind of vegetable garden on a raft, it’s a floating barge specifically designed for areas where drinking water and arable land are scarce. Its main advantage is that it is completely energy self-sufficient enabling it to even power its own desalination system. This agricultural greenhouse is also fitted with solar panels, mini wind turbines and a system to harness wave power. It can purify a total of 150 litres of water a day for its hydroponic (soilless) cultivation cultivation system, which uses considerably less water than traditional cultivation.
Reducing water waste is also the mantra of the Shower of the future, an inexpensive and eco-friendly shower that aims to introduce a system used by astronauts on board spaceships into our homes. The water is recovered in real time and the bacteria filtered out so that it can be reused immediately. The invention is particularly suited to refugee camps and regions where there is limited access to drinking water.
Twido, a finalist in this year’s EDF Pulse awards, is tapping into the trend for connected devices to help people control their energy use more efficiently. It’s a very compact, modular, solar-powered water heater fitted with a Wi-Fi connection and on-board computer system. Every time it is used, it sends data via a dedicated Internet app so it can provide every member of the family with a hot water supply on demand. Further proof that preserving our precious water resources is a priority we all share.
Find out the projects selected for the second edition of the EDF Pulse AwardsDownload the dataviz of innovation tendancies for the 2nd Edition of the EDF Pulse Awards
(PDF, 244 Kb)Find out the 100 projects selected

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