Waves, tides, rivers, canals…if it flows, chances are someone’s figuring out a way to harness it to produce clean energy. And a Massachusetts-based startup called Free Flow Power is even working on tapping the mighty Mississippi. The company has a $3 billion plan to place thousands of small electric turbines down the Mississippi river — from St. Louis to New Orleans — which could generate over a gigawatt of electricity, according to the St. Louis Post Dispatch.
The startup reportedly has preliminary three-year permits to study 59 sites in the Mississippi, granted by the marine power gatekeeper, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Each turbine is about 2 feet in diameter, and harnesses the current to spin and generate electricity; each of the sites would require hundreds of thousands of turbines. So yeah, a massive project.
Beyond the growing trend of harnessing the seas — including wave and tidal power — startups are increasingly turning to smaller flowing bodies of water. Hydrovolts is looking to harness smaller flowing bodies of water, and Hydro Green Energy is a startup that is actually also looking at projects in the Mississippi. The ole muddy might get a little crowded, over the next few years!