The Hydroelectric Barge

by James D. Calvert, Jr., Gilbert/Commonwealth, Jackson, MI, USA,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Innovative Powerhouse Designs


The nation's inland waterway system includes many low head locks and dams, with undeveloped hydropower potential estimated in excess of 1,100 MW. For most of these dams, hydro development by conventional, traditional means is technically difficult, prohibitively expensive and environmentally objectional. To overcome these problems, a new concept in hydropower generation, the Hydroelectric Barge, has been developed. It is a specially manufactured vessel containing hydro units; once towed to the dam site, it is floated in and out of spillway openings on a seasonal basis for power production. The Hydroelectric Barge's size and power capacity depend on the geometry of the spillway opening, hydraulic head and river flow available. The important advantages of the Hydroelectric Barge are low cost, staged installation and minimal environmental impact. Initial installation of the barge is currently scheduled for locks and dams on the Upper Mississippi River.

Subject Headings: Hydro power | Barges | Weirs | Locks (waterway) | Spillways | Economic factors | Head (fluid mechanics) | Inland waterways | Mississippi River

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