The first Cleantech Hero Energy has been announced. The choice of the jury of experts went almost unanimously to Turbulent Hydro, which has developed high-tech small hydroelectric turbines that convert energy from rivers into electricity by making use of generated whirlpools.

"Turbulent has carefully chosen to develop a technology that is suitable both for the West and for countries in emerging economies. Turbulent aims for a clear link with a number of SDGs. The potential for internationalisation ensures that Turbulent Hydro can become a great showcase for Flanders. It highlights everything that a sustainable innovation project should be. In time, this kind of solution can make universal access to electricity a reality, without the pernicious additional negative impact on global greenhouse gas emissions."

The jury of the third Cleantech Hero 2021 was unanimous in praising Turbulent Hydro's project, which combines technological innovation, sustainability and social responsibility.

About the winner

The jury for this Cleantech Flanders Hero Circular Energy consisted of Claire Tillekaerts (FIT), Dirk Fransaer (VITO), Pieter-Jan Provoost (Agoria), Frederik Loeckx (Flux50), Marc Nuytemans (De Blauwe Cluster) and Frans Snijkers (Cleantech Flanders). After an initial selection, three finalists emerged: Smappee, The Sniffers and Turbulent Hydro.

The jury was once again very impressed by the level of the candidates. They were judged on the relevance of the innovations, the TRL level, the impact in Flanders and the international ambitions of the company, the extent to which the company can act as an ambassador for Flemish cleantech, the implementation of the SDGs and the cooperation with all links of the quadruple helix.

Companies that win the 2021 award in their theme gain momentum during a whole year. Not only can they wear the label for a year, but they can also present their innovation at G-STIC2022 and receive promotional support through Cleantech Flanders channels. In addition, the winner may present his or her company in a 2-minute company report that can be used for promotional purposes.

About Turbulent Hydro

Turbulent Hydro changes the way new hydropower is developed. A Turbulent micro-hydropower plant requires no dams, no river impediments and no large infrastructure. The system needs only 1.5 metres of water height difference to generate energy. As a result, this technology results in a fish-friendly, low-maintenance hydropower plant that efficiently produces clean electricity 24 hours a day.

Turbulent Hydro has great international potential and is already running projects in Chile, Taiwan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Congo, Thailand, Portugal, Estonia, Slovenia, France, the United Kingdom and, of course, Belgium. By installing distributed clusters of turbines, entire regions can be supplied with 100% green, clean, stable and reliable electricity.

CEO dr. ir. Walter Buydens: "Turbulent is very excited about this CleanTech Hero recognition and is very grateful. We will not betray the confidence of the jury. Turbulent works together with nature and with an eye for local users and local employment. Now that we are at TRL level 9 and have thus reached the stage of proven technology, both in Europe and on three other continents and in different climate conditions, our ambitions are unstoppable. We feel like a true Cleantech hero. The energy transition will get an enormous boost in this decade. This makes us enthusiastic. With Turbulent, we have a positive social and environmental impact. As a company, we also have an eye for the financial picture. In this scale-up phase, Turbulent aims for a turnover of 25 million euros by 2027. In order to achieve this, we are currently working on a capital round in which we aim to raise 4 million euros from impact investors."

Turbulent Hydro contributes to the SDG goal of affordable and clean energy (SDG 7), as well as to other SDGs, including those for water (SDG 6), resilient infrastructure (SDG 9) and climate change (SDG 13).

The next Cleantech Hero

We are looking for the next Cleantech Hero in the field of mobility. You can apply from mid-January 2022 at

+32 14 33 56 65