Sustainable small-scale hydropower in Central Asia (Hydro4U)

Hydro4U - Hydropower For You - is a project funded under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. Under the coordination of Technical University of Munich, 13 partner organisations from 8 countries are collaborating to boost sustainable small-scale hydropower in Central Asia. Eco-friendly hydropower solutions will be implemented in two demonstration plants in Central Asia. In Hydro4U, Steinbeis Europa Zentrum is responsible for communication, dissemination and exploitation activities.

Small-scale hydropower is not extensively exploited in Central Asia despite considerable potential to satisfy unmet electricity demand and chart a new way forward in cooperative cross-sectoral management of shared waters. There is also vast potential to roll out European small-scale hydropower approaches in other regions outside the European continent. However, European technologies have not been widely used due mostly to the lack of adaptation to other contexts; successful test cases are scant as their price point is typically far higher than for Asian-manufactured competitors. The Hydro4U project will adapt European technologies to Central Asia, demonstrating viability in a forward-looking cross-border water-food-energy-climate nexus and price-competitiveness through design alterations based on a prior analysis of unexploited sustainable small-scale hydropower potential in Central Asia. Hydro4U will install and assess two demo plants: a 500kW low-head eco-friendly run-of-river plant and a 2MW medium-head plant, both with radically reduced planning and construction costs that do not compromise efficiency. These solutions will be fit-for-purpose based on innovation, modularisation, standardisation and radically simplified structural concepts, with longevity, eco-compatibility and socio-political acceptance. A replication model will be developed to address the full small-scale hydropower potential in Central Asia. This will demonstrate EU quality standards and create entry points in developing markets for the entire European small-scale hydropower industry. Hydro4U brings together industry, politics, science and stakeholders from both Central Asia and the European Union with the aim of contributing to a sustainable and climate-resilient future for the region by demonstrating European small hydropower equipment and technologies.

Project Duration: 06/2021 – 05/2026

Participating Countries: Austria, Belgium, Germany, Kyrgyzstan, Spain, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Uzbekistan

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Keywords: Hydropower solutions, small scale hydropower, sustainability

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Charlotte Schlicke
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Charlotte Schlicke

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