http://www.engineeringnews.co.za/article/south-african-company-launches-world-first-water-powered-generator-2011-09-30

South African company launches off-grid water-powered generator

Published 30 Sep 11
Power saving technology supplier RitePower has launched its hydrate power cell off-the-grid generator (HOGG) as an alternative to electricity supplied by State power utility Eskom, which will again increase tariffs by 25.9% in 2012.

The company officially introduced the HOGG to the general public at the Business Opportunities and Franchise Expo, in Gauteng, earlier this month.

“Generating power from water in this manner is a world first. About four years of research and development was invested in identifying the right combination of metals to provide the desired reaction needed to generate electricity,” explains RitePower MD Raymond Venter.

The Hogg is being manufactured in the Far East and was developed in collaboration with RitePower engineers and the company’s Far East technology partners.

RitePower franchise owner Melton van der Merwe says the commercial manufacturing of the unit will start in January next year, while a few thousand Hoggs should be produced each month. The unit is scheduled to be rolled out in March 2012 to supply South Africa and, eventually, the world.

Venter adds that a manufacturing facility will be established in South Africa next year.

“This technology is so advanced that we could construct a megawatt plant, but our current aim is to reduce the demand on the grid to prevent a repeat of 2008’s load-shedding and protect the country’s economy. However, we will apply for a power producer licence,” he says.

The generator, ranging between 1.5 kW and 250 kW, is suited to supply electricity to households and businesses. It will also help solve South Africa’s electrification challenges in remote rural areas that do not have access to electricity as there is no existing infrastructure. The 100% quiet unit will also prevent the costly theft of copper cables used in the electrification process.

The hydrate power cell, which runs on hydrate-treated water, is used to charge two batteries, which store the electricity and supply it when needed.

The device is 100% carbon free and is rented to clients at half the cost of their monthly electricity bill for five years. This includes maintenance of the unit, but not the installa- tion of the generator switchover system on the primary distribution board by a certified electrician.

“Households generally do not have the capital to purchase off-the-grid solutions and repay- ment of such equipment is normally between 10 and 14 years, with high maintenance requirements for batteries,” says Venter.

The power cell requires only about 500 mℓ of hydrate-treated water every one to six months, depending on the climate in which it operates. The water is sold by the company at R5 a litre.