MUNICH — Hydroelectric power is the oldest and “greenest” source of renewable energy. In Germany, the potential would appear to be completely exploited, while large-scale projects in developing countries are eliciting strong criticism because of their major impact on the environment. Researchers at Technische Universität München (TUM) have developed a small-scale hydroelectric power plant that solves a number of problems at the same time. The construction is so simple, and thereby cost-efficient, that the power generation system is capable of operating profitably in connection with even modest dam heights. Moreover, the system is concealed in a shaft, minimizing the impact on the landscape and waterways. There are thousands of locations in Europe where such power plants would be viable, in addition to regions throughout the world where hydroelectric power remains an untapped resource.
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