Hydro4U 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 Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.
Despite considerable potential to satisfy unmet electricity demand and chart a new way forward in cooperative cross-sectoral management of shared waters, small scale hydropower (SHP) is not extensively exploited in Central Asia (CA). Likewise, vast potential to roll out European SHP approaches in other regions, European technologies have not been widely used due mostly to the lack of adaptation to such contexts; successful test cases are scant as their price point is typically far higher than Asian-manufactured competitors. The Hydro4U project will adapt European technologies to CA, demonstrating viability in a forward-looking cross-border Water/Food/Energy/Climate nexus (WP2) and price-competitiveness through design alterations (WP3) based on a prior analysis of unexploited SHP potential in CA (WP1). Hydro4U will install and assess (WP4) 2 demo plants: 500kW low-head eco-friendly run-of-river plant in KA, 2MW medium-head plant in UZ, both with radically reduced planning and construction costs that do not compromise efficiency. These solutions will be fit-for-purpose based on innovation, modularization, standardisation and radically simplified structural concepts, with longevity, eco-compatibility and socio-political acceptance (WP3). A replication model will be developed to address all SHP potential (WP5). This will demonstrate EU quality standards and create entry points in developing markets for the entire European SHP industry (WP6). Hydro4U brings together a multidisciplinary team (13 partners, 8 countries (DE, AT, CH, LK, ES, BE, CA: UZ, KG, [subsidiary in KZ]) world-renown experts in design of European SHP from industry (GHE, MUHR, HSOL, ILF) to science (TUM, BOKU, KSTU, EV-INBO, SJE, CARTIF), replication (SEZ, CARTIF), exploitation and D&C experts (SEZ), ‘boots-on-the-ground’ R4D institutes (IWMI, TIIAME) with a legacy of achieving practical impact in the water sector in CA, contributing experience from similar projects in CA and worldwide.