HelioRec, a Skolkovo Innovation Center resident, and EcoEnergy, a Dagestan-based company, have created a unique hybrid solution that provides electricity while also oxygenating water that suffered an algae bloom.

The hybrid system, a floating platform that puts oxygen back into water while also generating electricity using solar panels, was recently launched on Lake Ak-Gel in the Republic of Dagestan. The lake has suffered a series of environmental problems over the last two decades, including algae growth, which has reduced oxygen levels in water threefold meaning fish cannot survive.

HelioRec-EcoEnergy hybrid floating solar power generator. Photo: HelioRec.

The idea for the hybrid system came into being when engineers from EcoEnergy, a renewable energy company, linked up with Skolkovo’s HelioRec, which focuses on aeration systems to oxygenate water. EcoEnergy had already created a floating solar power station and all it took was for the two companies to join their developments together to create the hybrid.

Assembly of the hybrid floating solar power generator. Photo: HelioRec.

The “floating solar electricity generator and aeration system” has built-in smart home systems and Wi-Fi, allowing it to be controlled remotely using a mobile phone. It also has built-in motor so that it can move across a body of water independently, maximizing the efficiency of the aeration system.

Altogether, it consists of 24 floating modules with 295W photovoltaic panels, 36 maintenance tracks, four batteries, and four aerators – enough to restore normal oxygen levels in the Lake Ak-Gel within a year.

A representative from HelioRec commented to Sk.ru that, “For us it was an interesting environmental project where each side brought something interesting to the table. We have signed a collaboration agreement for 30 megawatts with EcoEnergy and if it is successful, then together we will continue to develop the sector in Dagestan for floating power stations.”

Lake Ak-Gel in Makhachkala, Dagestan. Photo: 

So-called “dead zones” like that in Lake Ak-Gel are increasingly common around the world, especially around river estuaries where runoff from agriculture enters the seas and oceans. Two such examples of this are the dead zones in the Baltic Sea and the area surrounding the Mississippi estuary in the Gulf of Mexico. With the current growing trend in developing green technologies and the increase in awareness of environmental issues across the globe, companies both small and large are creating new solutions to deal with the current challenges and this is a prime example.