Hydroelectricity has become a buzzword in the renewable energy industry, promising emissions-free electricity generated by the force of moving water. Tidal power farms could be a major source of sustainable power in the future, but smaller water-powered gadgets, batteries and even vehicles already exist. Recent advancements in hydropower technology have resulted in a surprising variety of awesome water-powered designs.
James Bond-Style Water-Powered Jet Pack
(images via: JetLev-Flyer)
Imagine soaring up into the air with a James Bond-style jet pack strapped to your back – powered by water. A German entrepreneur, Hermann Ramke, created the JetLev-Flyer which can power the rider to a height of 50 feet with a top speed of 30mph and can travel almost 200 miles before it needs to be refuelled. A floating pump powered by a 150 horsepower four-stroke engine sends water through a 140-foot long hose to a pair of nozzles mounted on the jet pack, which can be angled to propel the rider forward in steady, controlled flight. It can be yours for just £160,000.
Bedol Water-Powered Alarm Clock
(image via: Bedol)
Take your alarm clock with you anywhere and don’t worry about whether there’s a power source – you can just use the leftover water in your glass on the nightstand. The Eco-Friendly Water-Powered Clock by Bedol runs on water and lemon. You just fill up the tank with water and squeeze in some lemon juice, which makes it run more efficiently. The clock even has a memory function that saves the time while you’re switching out the water, so you don’t have to reset it.
Batteries Powered by Water – or Urine
(image via: Weird Asia News)
NoPoPo – which stands for non-pollution power – are a brand of Japanese batteries that will run on just about any liquid, including urine. That might sound strange, but in an emergency situation when you don’t have water to spare, it could be immensely useful. These batteries don’t last forever – the life cycle is about 3 to 5 charges – and they’re only available in Japan, but they’re a pretty neat concept.
Ireland’s Water-Powered Street Lights
(image via: sarahpetherbridge)
In Donegal County, Ireland, residents will soon enjoy street lamps powered with water instead of electricity or gas. LH Ecotech’s €3,000 “hydro light” is being installed for a test run on a footbridge over the River Finn in Ballybofey. Water flowing downstream in the river passes through a 110 watt turbine, which charges batteries that run each 30 watt LED.
Stan Meyer’s Water-Powered Dune Buggy
(image via: WaterPoweredCars.com)
Inventor Stanley Meyer created a dune buggy that ran on water back in the ‘80s, the first vehicle to do what physicists had previously deemed impossible. When Meyer debuted his creation, which turned water into hydrogen fuel, he attracted a lot of attention. Meyer died moments after raising a glass with his brother and two Belgian investors to celebrate the vehicle, and his last words were “They poisoned me”, giving way to conspiracy theories about people who fear the end of fossil fuels enough to commit murder. Years later, in 2007, it was discovered that the dune buggy had been kept safe all this time in the basement of a friend of Meyer’s, who has since put it up for sale.
Water Powered Calculator
(image via: Computer Gear)
Next time you’re lounging in the pool and suddenly find a need to do a few calculations, just whip out this baby and dunk it in. When any liquid comes into contact with the fuel cells on the Water Powered Calculator, a chemical reaction between its zinc anode and cathode produces an electrical current that provides the calculator’s power. Best of all, just a little bit of water powers it for a month.
Nano-Tech Aqua Drop Puzzle
(image via: Brando Toys)
Who needs high technology when you can spend hours playing with water? The Nano-Tech Water Drop Puzzle is ultra water-resistant, allowing you to maneuver drops of water through the maze.
Water Powered Car
(image via: ZandJets2020)
There’s an intense debate about whether water-powered vehicles are really viable, but one Japanese company decided to prove the naysayers wrong. Genepax, a water-fuel car developer, created a prototype car that travels at the speed of about 80k for about an hour on just a liter of water. The Genepax car differs from Stan Meyer’s water-powered dune buggy in that it uses hydrogen electrons from water to make electricity, while the dune buggy had an on-board oxygen generator that fueled an internal combustion engine.
Mini Hydro Turbine Gadget Charger
(image via: Engadget)
The Mini Hydro Turbine, a concept design by Jin Woo Han, hooks up to your faucet to capture the “free” energy of your tap to spin a miniature generator that could theoretically provide enough power to charge an electric toothbrush or shaver. It’s eco-friendly as long as you don’t turn the water on just to power it up.
Water Powered Cell Phone
(image via: UberGizmo)
Water-powered cell phones sound like something from the distant future, but they could be available as soon as 2010. Samsung has successfully developed a micro-fuel cell and hydrogen generator powered by nothing but water. The water and metal in the phone react whenever it’s turned on, producing hydrogen gas that reacts with hydrogen in the air to create power. Each micro-fuel cell produces up to three watts of electricity, so it can power small phones for up to 10 hours.
Wash Your Electric Car and Power it, Too
(image via: Ecofriend)
Everybody needs to wash their car every now and then – but owners of electric vehicles would want to keep theirs immaculate if they owned a POWA Water Generator, which uses water power to produce electricity. A small turbine is placed in between the hose pipe, and as water surges through the pipe, it turns the blades and generates electricity which can then be fed directly into an electric vehicle.
(image via: Inhabitat)
A turbine powered by water pressure could turn your toilet into an electricity generator. The Benkatine Turbine by Leviathan Energy can get power from any pipe that water rushes through, making it a great choice for shower drains and rain gutters as well (particularly for those who try not to flush their toilets too often). According to the company, the Benkatine Turbine is meant to be scalable so it can be applied in both municipal water and sewer systems as well as in smaller pipes.