The Great River Turbine

Michael Jantzen’s Great River Turbine is yet another hydroelectric power station that focuses on public outreach, allowing visitors to visit and witness first-hand the creation of clean energy. Situated on a moored barge, the turbine would automatically rise and fall with the water level and could be placed in most any river setting for pollution-free electricity.

Designer: Michael Jantzen


  • Dibutil says:

    Very inefficient hydrodynamics indeed. Only visual appeal, nothing else.

  • Can you prove your statement about my inefficient design?

  • Stephen Russell says:

    Have this for these venues:
    Towns, cities along MS River
    Sacramento ,American River, Sacramento CA
    MO River area.
    MN area.
    CO River AZ NV NM.

    Be awesome. & add another blade set for dble power output.

  • Ironmistress says:

    Underflow waterwheels are the most inefficient water turbines there are. Sure, they are better than nothing, but why not instead install a Kaplan turbine horizontally under the water surface and employ the hydrodynamics and hydrostatic pressure?

    See here:

  • I thought it would be obvious from the text that my Great River Turbine was created primarily as a functional art project. My primary intent is to inspire people to become more aware of and excited by the potentials of alternative energy production and use. Of course there may be more efficient ways of generating power from the current in a river, but perhaps not as dynamic, and therefore not as interesting to the general public. Most of my work merges art, architecture, technology, and sustainable design, and I think this is a good example.

  • Just passing by says:

    MJ: I think if you ever stand aside a wind turbine, you will find out how dengerous you will feel….^^

  • Nathan says:

    Mad props on your domes, MJ (checked your portfolio). I see where you’re coming from with the idea of visibility but, speaking from my personal experience having toured a hydroelectric generating station, this technology is a little dated (read: water wheels are an ancient greek invention) and finding a way to display the current state of the art would really help to drive your point home.

    If you keep a positive mindset for criticisms, you can always use them for good; no matter how brash they may sound.

  • Kaywarner says:

    Yeah, it’s a simple hydrodynamics problem, without going into too much math, water hitting a paddle like you depict will give up most of its kinetic energy into the blade but in doing so will tend to stall as it hits the blade (this can be seen as various eddies and vorticies) this will then cause problems for the next unit (or volume if you will) of water hitting the blade. You extract (again, without the math) maximum from the first unit, then less from he next, less from the next etc. it’s better to keep a fluid flowing and moving and allow more units through. A pelton wheel is the best we can do, and it’s 60% efficient.

    Kay Warner

  • Hunter says:

    The midget CGI people are in danger. At least put a fence around that turbine so stupid kids going “Daddy, look what I can do!” don’t fall in.

    And yes, placing a turbine above the riverbed goes against basic engineering logic.

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