A new way to generate electricity is being implemented in Switzerland. It's a special water vortex power plant that bears the name of well known inventor, Bertrand Piccard. Our Swiss correspondent has more.
Bertrand Piccard has already made a name for himself as the man who flew the first non-stop round-the-world balloon flight. He's also the man who invented the Solar Impulse -- an airplane that runs only on solar energy. And now he's promoting a new kind of water energy system in Schöftland, Switzerland.
[Bertrand Piccard, President, Solar Impulse]: (male English)
"With new technology we can produce much cleaner energy and be much more sustainable."
Piccard agreed to be the patron for this first-of-its-kind water vortex power plant in Switzerland. The plant, which now carries Piccard's name, might take power generation to a new level.
This pilot project basin is 21 feet wide and has a level difference of five feet. Depending on the amount of water, it can produce between 10 and 15 kilowatts of energy. That's enough energy for 20-25 Swiss households.
So far, 25 countries have expressed interest in building water vortex power plants and are ready to invest in this new water energy. Ecuador is one of them.
[Rafael Paredes, Ambassador of Ecuador in Switzerland]:
"We have the geographic characteristics to be easy to have this kind of machines and this kind of technology to use in our country."
To build a water vortex power plant in a river, the land must have a downward slope of at least 2.3 feet and the water must flow at a minimum rate of 265 gallons per second.
The inventors have decided to build the water vortex power plant only in rivers that need to be re-naturalized so that they can guarantee maximum benefit to the environment. They also ensure that fish can pass the water power plant without being harmed, either up or downstream.
NTD News, Schöftland, Switzerland.