HYDRO4U - Sustainable Small-Scale Hydropower in Central Asia

hydrosolutions GmbH is proud to be the lead expert institution on Central Asian hydrology in the EU Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme project "HYDRO4U - Sustainable Small-Scale Hydropower in Central Asia".

Under the coordination of the Technical University of Munich, 13 partners 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 Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. The project was officially launched on 29th June 2021.

Small-scale hydropower is not extensively exploited in Central Asia despite the 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 mainly to the lack of adaptation to different contexts; successful test cases are scant as their price point is typically far higher than for Asian- manufactured competitors.

A shaft hydropower plant such as the one depicted above will be built at the Badamskoye reservoir site in Kazakhstan. Image source: TUM, the first operational shaft power plant was built in Loisach.

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 demonstration plants: up to 500kW low-head eco-friendly run-of-river shaft hydropower plant in Kazakhstan , approx. 2MW medium-head plant in Uzbekistan, both with radically reduced planning and construction costs that do not compromise efficiency. These solutions will be fit-for-purpose based on innovation, modularization, meaning radically simplified structural concepts, with longevity, eco-compatibility, and socio-political acceptance. A replication model will be developed to address all 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.

The Badam reservoir site is shown in the center of the satellite picture. The low-head shaft hydropower plant is planned to be built below the reservoir's outlet. Image source: Google Earth.

HYDRO4U brings together industry, politics, science, and stakeholders from Central Asia and the European Union to contribute to a sustainable and climate-resilient future for the region by demonstrating European small hydropower equipment and technologies.

Further information can be found in the attached press release.