Turbulent and the UN Sustainable Development goals

How Turbulent plays its part in the accomplishment of the United Nation's SDG's



Turbulent delivers an innovative approach to hydropower, which tackles all the problems associated with classical electrical power generation: no big infrastructure works, no ecological damage, no huge initial investments, no social disruption, no expensive transmission lines, no generation far from the consumer, no CO2 emissions.


Turbulent micro-hydropower plants successfully address all the challenges other renewable energies are facing: energy security, low capacity factors, big land areas, and last but not least the unpredictability caused by weather and day-night cycle. Turbulent works with nature, not against it.


By solving all these issues and providing a scalable solution, Turbulent turbines can be deployed in millions of sites around the world, powering communities, schools, hospitals, factories, farms, villages and even entire cities in an economical, ecological and reliable way. By installing multiple turbines, entire regions can be powered by 100% green, clean, stable and reliable electricity.


Turbulent subscribes to the indigenous notion of the Honourable Harvest * – sustaining the river and replenishing river habitats, adhering to a reciprocal relationship with the more-than-human world.

Turbulent endorses the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals **


Our main Sustainable Development Goal


7 – Affordable and clean energy. Turbulent’s micro-hydropower technology brings energy that is both clean and affordable to communities all over the world. The average LCOE of a Turbulent micro-hydropower plant amounts to 0,03 - 0,08 USD/kWh, which is currently among the lowest cost of energy in the world. Turbulent energy is 100% green, does not need big infrastructure to be built, and includes no rare earth materials.


All components of a Turbulent turbine can be recycled, making it truly clean and sustainable. The decentralisation of energy sources also helps to make it more affordable, and removes the need for high voltage transmission lines over hundreds of kilometres.


Closely related Sustainable Development Goals

Socio-economic benefits


1 – Communities and villages.


In many countries around the world there are still communities and villages that are not connected to the power grid. Remotely located in the jungle, the mountains or the country’s rural areas, these communities are often experiencing unstable electricity generation and distribution that doesn’t provide the energy when they need it. Many of these villages are powered with diesel generators (for a couple of hours/day), which cause ecological harm with their emissions and noise, but mainly cause financial difficulties within the communities.

The diesel needs to be transported to the villages from faraway locations, which often is a logistical, ecological and economical nightmare. Over the past years, solar micro grids have grown more popular, but due to variable weather conditions solar struggles with energy security and stability in these remote off-grid areas. On cloudy days and during the evening and night, no energy is generated, hence no electricity can be consumed, unless costly battery packs are installed. Small scale, easy to install Turbulent turbines remove all these problems of remote, stable electrification. Transport and installation are easy, fast and only have to occur once. Smaller units fit on a 4x4 or pick-up truck and can be delivered on location.


Local workforce can take care of the installation without the need of heavy machinery. Local metal workshops can produce certain parts of the turbine and casings, depending on the regional availability of these materials. The operational cost is almost non-existent, as water flows freely through the river and the turbine; and most importantly, it flows 24h/day, 365 days/year. As a result, the communities are also able to use this constant base load for refrigeration, water purification, telecom network connectivity, … On top of this, (previously installed) solar panels can be combined with the stable electricity generated by the Turbulent plant, accommodating peak consumption during daytime.


2 - Hospitals, schools, libraries and other public services


Just like remote villages, lots of hospitals and other public services today still rely on diesel generators for energy supply. Operational costs are high, risks related to logistics are always looming above. Diesel trucks break down or don’t make it in time, jeopardising the critical need of continuous and stable electricity in hospitals. Thanks to micro hydropower, coupled to the existing diesel generator now acting as an emergency generator, energy security and resilience can be achieved, drastically increasing health services in places that need it the most.


3 - Grid connected Businesses


All over the world businesses are working to decrease their operational expenses and CO2 emissions, while increasing their level of (energy) autonomy and their uptime (24/7/365). A fair number of these companies are manufacturing plants, food processing plants, farms, raw materials industries and related service industries, that are more often than not located near rivers or canals with low-head drops, weirs, dams or waterfalls. In many cases, the energy produced by a Turbulent micro hydropower plant will be less expensive and, in remote areas, far more stable than the electricity these companies are currently extracting from the (micro-)grid. The lower Levelled Cost Of Energy (LCOE) and the added autonomy and resilience increase the profitability of these businesses, while lowering electricity tariffs, grid dependency and CO2 emissions.

4 - Off-grid Businesses


Mining activities, nature parks, eco-resorts, agriculture, infrastructure works, … are often located far from the standard power grid. Like remote villages, they rely heavily on diesel generators or solar panels for the necessary energy. These solutions come with an economical, ecological and logistical cost. Turbulent turbines guarantee a low LCOE and provide a stable, reliable energy, which other sources cannot easily match.

5 - Ski Resorts, Mountain Resorts


An active promoter of outdoor activities and nature, these resorts often have an excessive carbon footprint. Whether the resorts are developed near existing towns adjacent a ski area, or purpose-built well away from towns, skiing and snowboarding are the main activity. To support these activities, ski lifts, chairlifts, gondolas are used moving skiers rapidly to the top of hills, and to interconnect the various trails (‘pistes’). Additionally, lodging, bars, restaurants and clubs (après-ski) are found on the slopes and along the trails, allowing guests to ski right up to the door. All this support infrastructure is powered by electricity plants at distant locations in the valleys. Turbulent turbines on nearby mountain river falls are able to offset a significant part of the electricity consumed by power hungry ski enthusiasts.


6 - Governments


Rural electrification and development programs, United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, European Union and World Bank grants and subsidies, … all these systems exist for the benefit of the people and communities in countries that need it most. National and local government can use these resources to truly have an impact in their country, and to help build up their nation by empowering the local communities and small businesses. Thanks to a decentralised approach, the need for expensive infrastructure and interconnectivity networks is removed, making the overall cost for electrification and development of a country more affordable.

Green electrification (urban and remote) is a major component of NetZero government programs in industrialized and developing countries. These programs drive the shift towards decreasing CO2 emissions, while increasing energy autonomy. Local and regional municipalities are already investing in renewable energy projects through incentives programs for home-owners, private companies and land owners and through public installations on government buildings and land. Although solar and wind energy are mainly rolled-out, micro-hydropower has its place in the renewable energy programs of numerous municipalities. Micro-hydropower is not only a renewable energy source that is reliable and 100% CO2 neutral, it can also be built locally with local materials at local workshops, adding significantly to a region’s energy autonomy and circular economy.

7 - Utilities and mobility service providers (Electric Mobility)


The electric power sector is preparing for its critical role in the new transportation ecosystem. Currently, Electric Vehicles (EVs) represent single digits percentages of the market, but rapid EV adoption is finally just around the bend. If mobility service providers with large fleets begin to emerge, they will likely coordinate closely with utilities and charging equipment providers to understand optimal locations and charging platforms to deploy for maximum interoperability with the grid. Electric mobility is not only EV’s – ‘cars’! It’s electric bicycles, electric motorcycles and scooters, electric snow scooters, electric kick scooters, electric ATV’s (quads), … often shared and paid for with smartphone apps. Millennials are more interested in adopting these technologies and engaging with utilities and mobility service providers than previous generations. All this will increase the demand for charging infrastructure, in urban and remote areas. Turbulent plants generate an excellent local base load, stabilising local power fluctuations caused by the spatial and temporal increase of electric mobility charging.

8 - Energy development and energy infrastructure companies.


A lot of potential hydropower projects are currently on hold because of the increased costs of these projects. To build a dam, large infrastructure works and large investments are needed, adding to the protests from the local communities and the extra studies and risk analyses that need to be made. Turbulent turbines don’t need any of these, as their impact is extremely small. Yet, they are able to subtract a substantial amount of energy from the same rivers. A Turbulent project can be built in phases, to decrease initial investment and risk, and part of the energy can be directly used locally, to ensure the communities will support the project instead of opposing to it. Compared to other energy sources, Turbulent projects reach a lower LCOE, thanks to the minimal infrastructure works and the extremely low maintenance costs. The development of a classical hydropower plant can take up to 10 years. A Turbulent turbine starts generating energy after a couple of months. By the time a classical hydropower project starts operating, a turbulent plant is entirely paid back and generates not only electricity but also a continuous flow of cash. Additional energy generation projects can be installed at the inlet and outlet of existing power plants, increasing the rentability of the overall system.


9 - Telecommunication


Telecom technology drives information and communication speed and availability. 5G will have greater bandwidth, giving higher download speeds, up to gigabits per second(Gbit/s). Due to the increased bandwidth, these networks do not exclusively serve mobile phones but will make possible new applications in internet of things (IoT) and machine to machine communication. Increased speed of 5G is achieved partly by using higher-frequency radio waves than previous cellular networks. However, higher-frequency radio waves have a shorter useful physical range, requiring more and smaller geographic cells (antennas). As a result, 5G networks overall require more electric power in more locations. Applications are abundant: in urban areas smart city applications (smart traffic lights, security cams, …) and self-driving cars are under development. In rural areas, self-driving agricultural vehicles, drones and automated spraying robots drive precision agriculture. In industrial plants, augmented reality applications are rolled-out in fab operations. In hospitals, remote surgery is making headway. All these applications require much more local electricity generation. Turbulent assists telecom operators and telecom infrastructure firms, in finding the right locations for micro-hydropower plants, powering their current and future telecom technologies.


10 - Irrigation Associations and Agribusiness in irrigation districts


Distributed power generation by Turbulent’s micro-hydropower plants secures stable and continuous power for the many interacting components on irrigation district’s structures. It reinforces the efficient working and allows to develop a distributed control of irrigation canals (model predictive control) maintaining water levels at all time close to prescribed levels.

An important aspect is that producing electricity on irrigation canals generates income. Micro-hydropower has a very good ROI, with typical investment payback periods between 3 – 8 years, guaranteeing a cost-effective way to compensate for the modernisation of existing irrigation schemes, I.e. installation of combined flow measurement and control gates. Past experiences have shown that modernisation of existing irrigation schemes to improve the level of service has also increased the operation and maintenance costs. Generating income with micro-hydropower is an important incentive to overcome these costs and create additional income to expand activities.

overview of direct benefits:

  • continuous power day and night at weirs, dams, gates, and remote sluice gates, supporting:

  • monitoring and controlling discharge

  • telecom and wireless infrastructure

  • wireless automatisation 24/7

  • feedback and feed-forward control, minimising fluctuations in water levels

  • development of a distributed control of irrigation canals, maintaining water levels after disturbances close to pre-specified reference values

  • centralisation of controls of multiple ditch-riders areas

  • powering touristic activities of irrigation districts (campgrounds and lodges near reservoirs)

  • powering recreational activities of irrigation districts (fishing and boating)


On top of the benefits for irrigation associations, installing micro-hydropower plants across irrigation districts sustain widespread electrification efforts in rural areas. Agribusiness players will be able to decrease their operational expenses and CO2 emissions, while increasing their level of (energy) autonomy and their uptime (24/7/365).

Turbulent micro-hydropower generates continuous electricity for:

  • irrigation pumps and sprinklers

  • agricultural tools and agricultural equipment

  • precision agriculture and site specific crop management

  • real-time sensors directly in soil, which can wirelessly transmit data

  • agricultural drones

  • robotised agricultural equipment (sensing and spraying robots and other Internet of Things (IoT) devices)

  • pump stations, other than irrigation water (e.g. drinking water, process water at agricultural fabs)

  • local crops dehydration and refrigeration facilities

  • local produce packing facilities

  • silos and storage


Last but not least, a distributed electricity generation comes with considerable energy savings: no more power loss due to long transmission lines.

* R. W. Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants, Milkweed Editions, 2013, p. 408.

** United Nations, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, https://sdgs.un.org/goals