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twin turbines with tanks web

WATER is currently the world’s greatest source of renewable energy.  It is 900-1000 times as dense as air, and can be 90% efficient in large dam turbine installations.  However, damming rivers has huge environmental consequences, resulting in many recent dam-removal projects.

On the other hand, utilizing the power of flowing rivers, irrigation canals and tidal flows does not need to interfere with fish migration or require significant ecological changes, and has the greatest potential for new sources of hydropower.

TIDAL POWER ~ new technologies

This concept drawing shows a 5-vane involute-spiral-vaned water turbine mounted on 4 pilings in a tidal current. Above the water turbine and a platform is mounted an involute-spiral-vaned wind turbine.  This concept is explained in detail in another area of this website.  These are both drag-propulsion devices, which have the potential of harnessing much more power than lift devices from slow-moving fluids, especially water.  The involute spiral has the unique property of creating a non-constricting path through the turbine, which is essential for harnessing maximum power from water, which is non-compressible and 800 times as concentrated as wind power.

Both turbines are connected to generators which provide power for electrolysis of water to produce hydrogen and oxygen for storage in the two cylindrical tanks below. This allows remote on-site storage of variably-generated electricity converted to hydrogen, which can be directly transferred to ships to power their own engines and to transport elsewhere.

Many variations on this design are proposed for different situations, and there are more efficient designs than this for tidal power, which is especially promising for harnessing tidal power here in Puget Sound, WA, where vast tidal flows surge in and out of this large inland sea daily.

The concept drawing on left shows a small prototype sail boat propelled by an existing 4’ diameter involute spiral wind turbine.  In larger streamlined application, it should revolutionize sailboat design by creating very smooth and high efficiency transfer of wind energy to pushing the water with a string of  paddles (below Left) moving between the split hull of the boat, propelling the boat forward, in any direction, fastest into the wind.

When the boat is anchored in a stream or current, it can generate electricity through the same mechanism. The multiple paddles are pulled by the moving water, turning a generator and generating power.    A dedicated tidal-current generator of this design could be  anchored  in fast-moving water permanently.

Numerous variations can  optimize different functions and conditions, such as enclosed ducting and tilted paddles for planing in high winds.

Water Skeeter202
Water Skeeter mechanism-perspective above02

The hyperboloid venturi pictured below is especially promising for submerged low-flow tidal current power.  The hypereboloid curve is generated by a skewed straight line rotated about the axis of the curve, so the incoming spiral water (or wind) can flow in the straight lines that created the shape, with minimal friction, through the middle opening at greatly accelerated speeds to offer concentrated power to hyperboloid turbine blades

The concept drawing below shows a low-head water turbine for installation in an irrigation canal.  I have tested numerous designs, and have discovered several more efficient configurations.

Water turbine_6vane vertical in cement ductwork-man02



H2O_Ship1 in water-spud anchors
hyperboloid 20-10202

The concept drawing Left shows a more efficient low-head water turbine, which was installed in an irrigation canal on the Sacramento River in California.  Unfortunately, the plans were not followed.  The approach-way was very turbulent and dampened the speed of the water considerably.  It was operated without the cowling or load on the turbine, resulting in the water just spilling over the top.  The outflow below turned out to be lower than a surrounding field, which it flooded.  The farmer was broke and abandoned the project.  You can probably take it off his hands cheap, and I’m sure it will give you lots of power!


Here is another tidal power-to-Hydrogen device proposed by Dr. Elijah Bonesteel.

A hollow ferrocement hull is anchored in a river or tidal current, where the paddle blades are turned by the water to generate electricity, which is used to electrolyze Hydrogen and Oxygen from water, storing it in compartments in the hull. Note the person on deck for scale.

To see a detailed animation, visit

For more details about hydrogen and power from “Slow-Moving Water” visit the fascinating website of Dr. Elijah.

Link to introductory page with older drawings