At least two companies have been studying the feasibility to generate electric power from special turbines anchored to river beds or other structures: Free Flow Power and Hydro Green Energy.
Hydro Green Energy, LLC based in Houston, Texas is a developer and operator of the Hastings project, Hastings, Minnesota, first hydrokinetic energy plant in the USA according to HGE. The company is developing several hydro projects in a dozen states across the country with an estimated output of 500MW.
Free Flow Power, Corp. (FFP) with headquarters in Gloucester, Massachusetts, produces turbines that generate hydrokinetic power from naturally flowing currents of water without locks or dams; e.g., rivers.
According to the Boston Business Journal, the company raised this past Friday $5.7M of the $8M that needs in venture capital.
The company has two subsidiaries: FFP Technology that develops the innovative turbines and FFP Development focused on opportunity and site development; in particular, along the Mississippi River basin. The FFPT SmartTurbine Generator is a 1.4 or 3 meter diameter, permanent magnet, rim-driven, uses hydrodynamic bearings, has low tip speed ratio, no gaps and is self-controlled thanks to embedded microprocessors that optimize its performance under variable conditions. The design avoids fish injury according to FFPT.
FFPD has obtained FERC Permits for more than 100 hydrokinetic sites over the Mississippi basin including the Ohio and Missouri Rivers. Regulatory filing for 55 hydrokinetic sites was submitted a year ago. The company is also working on the development of 18 hydropower projects that include new and old locks and dams. Most of the sites qualified for the implementation of these hydro plants are in the middle and lower Mississippi River.
These projects plan to deploy commercial scale hydrokinetic power plants along the Mississippi basin as early as 2012.