U-M spin-off Vortex Hydro Energy to revolutionize alt energy

Capturing the energy created by Michigan's numerous waterways often involves damns and turbines. But Vortex Hydro Energy wants to change that common wisdom in the alternative energy game.

The University of Michigan spin-off is in the midst of perfecting a new technology that can create energy without dams, turbines and the environmental problems they cause. Its Vortex Induced Vibrations Aquatic Clean Energy technology promises to take its energy from the action of water currents.

"It greatly enhances our ability to harness energy from even very slow currents," says Michael Bernitsas, chief technology officer for Vortex Hydro Energy.

The Ann Arbor-based company's three co-founders and other assorted contractors has developed and proven the technology works at U-M's Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering Department. It is in the midst of raising money to create a prototype.

"We are very close to having all of the money we need to build the prototype," Bernitsas says.

After that, further testing is still needed and the project will be opened up to investors again. Bernitsas, also a professor at U-M, thinks the technology is about 5-6 years away from being commercialized.

Source: Michael Bernitsas, chief technology officer for Vortex Hydro Energy
Writer: Jon Zemke
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