Who, What & Where

  • Smart Hydro Power GmbH
  • Irrigation for rice plantation powered by kinetic hydropower and PV
  • Neiva, Colombia

The Company

The company: Smart Hydro Power designs, fabricates and installs hydro-kinetic turbines in the range of 1 to 50 kW. It is a unique and proprietary plant which is built up in modules and which is integrated together with PV into a complete hybrid system for rural electrification.

The Challenge

Rice requires constant irrigation. In the case of the rice farm in Neiva, it was not connected to the grid. As a result, irrigation pumps were powered by 110 kW diesel generators – a solution which was both expensive (USD 1.2/l) and environmentally unhealthy.

Renewable Solution

There were opportunities to partially replace the rice farm’s dependence on diesel.

Installation of an irrigation pump was directly powered by a hydro-kinetic turbine. The turbine generates an average of 1.1 kW with 36 m3 water pumped over 3.5 m height per hour. The diesel replacement was measured and monitored by SENA, a Colombian training institute. First results show costs savings per 1,000 m3 pumped water of 65 % of the USD 1.2/l costs for diesel and an average water velocity of 1.5 m/s.

Project Financing and Costs

Because the project was employed as a trial and reference case using different technology types (incl. PV), total project costs exceeded EUR 80,000. This was co-financed by Smart hydro Power co-financed by the German Energy Agency (DENA). The installation of the final equipment (incl. turbine, direct interface and pump) generated EUR 17,000 in additional costs, which would be repaid through diesel savings.

Project Outcome

The project was successful. Part of the irrigation is now powered by green energy. Smart Hydro Power will integrate the kinetic pump in a standardised version in its product portfolio starting January 2016.



Juliana Baumgartl 

+49 8158 907 897-11