Status of micro-hydrokinetic river technology in rural applications: A review of literature


Herman Jacobus Vermaak, Kanzumba Kusakana, and Sandile Philip Koko – Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, January 2014

Abstract

Apparently, most hydrokinetic literatures mainly concentrate on large-scale technologies such as waves, tides and ocean current applications. This could be one of the reasons delaying the utilization of small-scale hydrokinetic river technology in rural areas. This paper therefore critically reviews the current status of micro-hydrokinetic river (MHR) technology for rural applications. Relevant research literatures based on developments, applications, design, operation as well as different MHR technologies involved in rural electrification projects have been reviewed. After conducting these reviews it has become clear that one of the key barriers hindering the employment of MHR technology in rural areas with access to flowing water is the lack of research demonstrating the technical, economic and environmental benefits of this technology compared to other rural electrification techniques. Studies that look towards the long-term perspective of techno-economic analysis inclusive of capital, maintenance and running costs computations need to be carried out promoting the interest in utilizing this technology. This paper will aid researchers to identify areas that need to improve as well as encourage public bodies to implement proper energy policies regarding the MHR technology usage in rural areas. It will also create awareness among site owners, investors, project developers and decision makers regarding the potential benefits of using this technology in rural areas especially in countries with little or no elevation.

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