Verterra Energy Leverages Binsfeld Systems into Hydrokinetic Innovation

Verterra Energy Leverages Binsfeld Systems into Hydrokinetic Innovation

Whether it’s powering a village and providing freshwater to locals or helping to power developed nations, hydropower is becoming one of the more versatile, and effective, forms of renewable energy. Recent technical innovations are helping leverage the various methods of hydropower throughout a wide-range of applications around the world.

One such advancement is ‘Volturnus’. This prototype, developed by Verterra Energy, Inc., is a small hydropower device that can be deployed directly into rivers, oceans and manmade canals to generate base load power, without the construction of a dam.

“Initially [Volturnus is] going to have the biggest impact in the areas that are just starting to develop or don't have any electricity or any infrastructure right now,” Ted Christopher, CEO of Verterra Energy, Inc., said. “We're going to be able to go into these places and literally in the matter of a day they're going to have purified water for the first time; they're going to have electricity for cellphone towers and the Internet and computers and refrigerators and LED lighting.”

During the design phase, Christopher and his team partnered with Binsfeld Engineering while testing torque differential, disc break, and other key metrics in real-time. Binsfeld’s system were especially instrumental during the 2nd and 3rd generations of Volturnus, Christopher added.

“During calibration, we were surprised to find that Binsfeld’s torque monitoring solutions were detecting the rolling resistance of bearings. The information we captured while moving from the 2nd to 3rd generation of Volturnus allowed us to increase how efficiently we harness the power in flowing water.”

Binsfeld’s torque and power specialists also made themselves available during Verterra’s continued testing and design validation. This allowed Verterra to utilize Binsfeld’s systems in new ways. For example, instead of relying exclusively on fluid dynamic simulations, the Verterra staff installed their prototype in an actual stream. This method removed some of the guess-work typically associated with simulations. Because their prototype would be underwater, slight modifications were made to Binsfeld’s torque monitor, marking the first time that one of those systems has been submerged.

By bringing new, innovative ideas to the design table and testing those principles in real-world environments, Verterra is poised to create social change – especially in remote and developing areas where conventional, fossil fuel power plants aren’t practical.

Their Volturnus prototype also holds promise for island regions where continued reliance on diesel generators has proven an environmental risk and an economic burden. Installed in arrays called ‘V-Pods’, comprised of 5 individual Volturnus, up to 50 kilowatts of power can be generated onsite, depending on water conditions and geographic characteristics.

To learn more about Binsfeld Engineering’s torque testing equipment, visit their website today at