In February and November of last year, the company tested its turbine in a controlled flow at the US Geological Survey’s Conte Anadromous Fish Laboratory at Turner Falls, Massachusetts. The current hydrokinetic deployment represents the first time the equipment has generated electricity in the Mississippi River. This operation is the culmination of three years of research and development by Free Flow Power, funded with a combination of private capital and a $1.4M Advanced Water Power grant from the US Department of Energy.

The turbine is installed on a research surface platform that includes instrumentation to allow the Free Flow Power research team to monitor key performance metrics like stream velocity, electrical current and voltage to evaluate the turbine’s performance. The Dow Chemical Company is supporting Free Flow Power’s efforts by hosting the floating demonstration installation at the company’s dock along the Mississippi River at Plaquemine, Louisiana.

“Performance to date has been consistent with our design predictions, which makes it very competitive with published data on similar devices being developed around the world,” said Dr. Ed Lovelace, Chief Technology Officer for Free Flow Power. “The equipment is handling the Mississippi River conditions without power interruptions or degradation.

“It’s pretty clear that river hydrokinetics provides a steady, continuous, and predictable renewable energy source. These attributes, combined with limited land use, no fuel requirements, and proximity to grid infrastructure and maintenance access make river hydrokinetics a unique value proposition in the renewable energy market,” added Lovelace.

Free Flow Power is pursuing approvals from State and Federal regulators led by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to install arrays of its hydrokinetic turbines at various locations in the Mississippi River that would provide enough power to represent a viable alternative to conventional power plants.