Prius EV Parts Used to Lower Cost of Small Hydroelectric Generation

Tohoku Small Hydropower Co Ltd will develop small hydroelectric generation facilities by reusing the used HV unit of the Prius hybrid vehicle (HV).

It enables to reduce the high costs of generators and control devices. The company aims to commercialize the project within fiscal 2019.

Tohoku Small Hydropower (Akita City) is a company that designs and manufactures small hydroelectric generation devices.

The motor of the HV unit will be used as a generator, and its inverter and controller will be used as output control devices. Based on the motor capacity, the rated output of the facilities was set at 10kW. Also, expanding the application by serial and parallel arrangements, the company expects a market for less-than-50kW power plants, which are connected to low-voltage power transmission lines of power companies.

Tohoku Small Hydropower will reduce the cost of the electrical device cost of hydroelectric generation facilities by about 90% (in-house comparison) by reusing the HV unit. Also, the company aims to develop a low-cost water turbine supporting advanced operation control (variable speed operation) and reduce costs by changing the manufacturing method of turbine blade. It aims to sell the entire system at a price of ¥600,000 (approx US$5,369) per kilowatt.

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