Water Engine Technologies History

 

Water Engine Technologies was incorporated in February 2014, coinciding with the IP transfer of the Water Engine technology from the original inventors, who remain associated with the company. 

 

Background

 

The inventor company built and tested a total of five Water Engines during the 70’s and 80’s, concluding with the issue of a report funded by ETSU in 1986 that confirmed the reliability and practicability of the Water Engine.  The report highlighted that the device could achieve efficiencies of over 80% with heads between 0.4m and 5.0m.  The inventor company came very close to commercialising the Water Engine technology  thereafter, but ultimately failed because;

  • Small scale hydro power was not economically viable at that tim;
  • National energy policies were focussed on North Sea gas coming on-line;
  • The deployment of a new technology on the municipal scale was a high risk option in an era when fossil fuel power generation was deemed cheap and reliable; and
  • The inventor company refused to share the IP with interested investors. 

 

The current market for renewable energy, driven by the Feed-in-Tariff mechanism and public disquiet about landscape and ecological impacts of some technologies, is now looking very closely at hydro power opportunities. Whilst there are limited numbers of high-head opportunities that can be developed, there are vastly greater numbers of low-head sites available. One of the main constraints for hydro power is the need for dams and weirs, which in many river systems would never achieve planning permission due to visual and ecological impacts. The Water Engine avoids these issues.

 

Current Activities

 

Since incorporation Water Engine Technologies has been advancing the business on a number of fronts:

 

Business:

We were granted a place on the Entrepreneurial-Spark (e-Spark) programme and have recently been accepted onto the prestigious Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation “Ideas Lab” programme. We have also been assisted by the Baxendale” Innavya” programme for innovative start-up companies since start-up.

We were invited to present at the EIE event in The Assembly Rooms in May 2014 and have just been accepted onto the ECO-Connect event in London in February 2015.

 

Technical:

We have been working with a number of academic establishments to investigate many possible improvements to a 40-year old technology. This has included bursary placements from Heriot Watt University; final-year projects with a group of HWU students; investigation of alternative drive systems with Edinburgh University; ecological studies with Durham University; and the provision of suitable sites within St. Andrews University’s Guardbridge project.

 

Investment:

Since spinning out from an international energy consultancy, Water Engine Technologies has been helped and encouraged by the former parent company, Baxendale Employee-Ownership Trust , who brought us into their Innavya programme and take an ongoing interest in the company development.  Scottish Enterprise are taking an active role in the company's development. 

 

 

Whilst all the organisations we spoke to were impressed by the Water Engine and could see its vast potential across world markets, it became clear to us that a new demonstration unit would need to be constructed in order to show potential investors, business partners and clients what the technology was capable of, and how it worked.  

 

In July 2014, a demonstration Water Engine was designed and fabricated on a test site in Clydebank.  The device was  designed with an input rating of 1.3kW.  This demo unit is now situated at our research centre in Caddonfoot.   

 

In parallel to the construction of the demonstrator unit and all of the R&D work, we have identified our first full scale 15kW Water Engine deployment site located in the Scottish Borders.  Planning permission for this project was granted in October 2015 and we are now working with SEPA, SNH and the River Tweed Commissioners to design the most appropriate construction method for the unit. 

 

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© Water Engine Technologies 2016