Ottawa Citizen

A one-two hy­dro­elec­tric power punch

An Ot­tawa in­ven­tor is team­ing with boxer Manny Pac­quiao to bring a new source of elec­tric­ity to the Philip­pines, re­ports DRAKE FEN­TON.

- Dfen­ton@ot­tawaci­ti­zen.com twit­ter.com/drake­fen­ton

An Ot­tawa in­ven­tor work­ing in col­lab­o­ra­tion with boxing cham­pion Manny Pac­quiao is in the midst of par­lay­ing a new source of hy­dro­elec­tric power into a po­ten­tial $100-mil­lion en­ergy deal in the Philip­pines.

Fred Fer­gu­son, CEO of Watero­tor En­ergy Tech­nolo­gies, has cre­ated the Watero­tor — a de­vice ca­pa­ble of har­ness­ing en­ergy from slow-mov­ing wa­ter cur­rents. The small, rolling drum-like in­ven­tion func­tions in any­where from one-to-six-m. p.h. cur­rents, gen­er­at­ing power by cap­tur­ing the torque or push of the wa­ter.

“The de­vice is the only one in the world that can achieve a high level of en­ergy ef­fi­ciency at th­ese speeds,” he said.

The com­pany has cre­ated a 10-kilo­watt and 20-kilo­watt unit. On its own, a sin­gle Watero­tor doesn’t pro­vide a sub­stan­tial amount of en­ergy. Fer­gu­son said a sin­gle 20 kW unit would power about 10 homes per year at the North Amer­i­can stan­dard of en­ergy con­sump­tion. But he said mul­ti­ple units can be placed side by side or in lad­der for­ma­tion to cre­ate a greater amount of en­ergy for a re­gion.

And while he ad­mits other forms of hy­dropower are much more ef­fi­cient, he said they rely on high wa­ter speeds and are un­able to max­i­mize the vast amounts of slow mov­ing cur­rents in the world.

Be­cause of this, he be­lieves the Watero­tor could be­come a ma­jor source of re­new­able en­ergy that could com­pete with or even re­place non-re­new­able en­ergy sources.

“You could eas­ily power the en­tire eastern seaboard by putting th­ese in Florida in the Gulf Stream,” he said. “There is noth­ing to sug­gest that, with this tech­nol­ogy, you couldn’t build a 200- or 300-foot unit. Peo­ple don’t re­al­ize wa­ter is 830 times more pow­er­ful than wind at the same speed and there are 110 ma­jor ocean cur­rents on the planet.”

Fer­gu­son said his pri­vate Ot­tawa com­pany of 20 em­ploy­ees has tested the in­ven­tion and is close to bring­ing it to mar­ket.

And while noth­ing has been fi­nal­ized, the Watero­tor may make its de­but in the Philip­pines.

Last year, Fer­gu­son was in­tro­duced to Pac­quiao, the boxing star who is also a Filipino con­gress­man.

“Pac­quiao and I con­nected and got along great,” Fer­gu­son said. “He flew me down to his home in the south­ern Philip­pines and he asked if we would set up a part­ner­ship.”

Fer­gu­son said he met with top govern­ment of­fi­cials to ne­go­ti­ate a deal to bring 1,000 20-kW units to the coun­try. He said the cost of the deal is val­ued at $100 mil­lion.

“I think it’s go­ing to end up as a joint ven­ture be­tween (Fer­gu­son) and us,” said Michael Koncz, who is Pac­quiao’s man­ager and ad­viser.

“It’s a tremen­dous help be­cause there are still a lot of peo­ple, es­pe­cially in (Pac­quiao’s) re­gion of Sarangani, that don’t have elec­tric­ity. So this will be our pilot pro­ject to ex­pand it through­out Asia.”

Ac­cord­ing to the World Bank, there are more than 15 mil­lion peo­ple in the Philip­pines with­out elec­tric­ity.

While this ini­tial in­vest­ment would pro­vide power for 15,000 to 20,000 peo­ple, Fer­gu­son ex­plained the Philip­pine govern­ment would also like to li­cense the prod­uct so it can man­u­fac­ture the Watero­tor it­self.

He said the plan is to even­tu­ally op­er­ate 10,000 units.

A spokesman for the Philip­pine Em­bassy in Ot­tawa said he was not aware of a deal to bring Fer­gu­son’s in­ven­tion to the is­land na­tion, but he said the govern­ment is ac­tively pur­su­ing dif­fer­ent ways of pro­vid­ing elec­tric­ity for those with­out.

And for Fer­gu­son, if all goes ac­cord­ing to plan, he said he may be sit­ting on a bil­lion-dol­lar in­ven­tion.

“It’s like go­ing from an ap­ple to be­ing Ap­ple com­put­ers in­side of a year,” he said.

“It’s crazy stuff. But the tech­nol­ogy is that good.”

 ?? BRUNO SCH­LUM­BERGER/OT­TAWA CIT­I­ZEN ?? Fred Fer­gu­son’s Watero­tor, which comes in 10-kilo­watt and 20-kilo­watt units, pro­duces en­ergy from un­tapped slow-mov­ing cur­rents.
BRUNO SCH­LUM­BERGER/OT­TAWA CIT­I­ZEN Fred Fer­gu­son’s Watero­tor, which comes in 10-kilo­watt and 20-kilo­watt units, pro­duces en­ergy from un­tapped slow-mov­ing cur­rents.
 ?? HAND­OUT/WATERO­TOR En­ergy TECH­NOLO­GIES ?? Fred Fer­gu­son said his 20-em­ployee com­pany has tested the in­ven­tion and is close to bring­ing it to the mar­ket.
HAND­OUT/WATERO­TOR En­ergy TECH­NOLO­GIES Fred Fer­gu­son said his 20-em­ployee com­pany has tested the in­ven­tion and is close to bring­ing it to the mar­ket.
 ?? HAND­OUT/ WATERO­TOR En­ergy TECH­NOLO­GIES ?? Ot­tawa in­ven­tor Fred Fer­gu­son, right, and Filipino con­gress­man and boxing star Manny Pac­quiao met last year and ‘got along great,’ Fer­gu­son said.
HAND­OUT/ WATERO­TOR En­ergy TECH­NOLO­GIES Ot­tawa in­ven­tor Fred Fer­gu­son, right, and Filipino con­gress­man and boxing star Manny Pac­quiao met last year and ‘got along great,’ Fer­gu­son said.

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