The power of dunking: Dunk-E device creates micro-hydro turbines for home use

3 Feb 2014

Created by Anthony Glynn and James Sherlock from Ár-nuaTec, an Irish clean-tech start-up, the Dunk-E has already received thousands of euro worth of orders from the Irish and Asian markets.

The small black device is attempting to take advantage of the hundreds of small streams that criss-cross rural Ireland and turning them into a cheap and easy form of hydro-electricity.

Glynn set up Ár-nuaTec (translating as ‘our new technology’) with Sherlock to produce and market the Dunk-E device and the company is a very recent start-up, having only begun trading in August 2013. The duo spent more than two years developing the product, which involved, in their own words, “some very cold evenings standing in rivers!”  

Claiming to only require about two hours for installation, the Dunk-E will produce anywhere between 100 and 3,500 watts of power, depending on the speed of the stream, rotating at speeds of between 18rpm and 220rpm.

Cost effectiveness

The idea of small-scale water-turbine technology came to Glynn originally when examining a cost-effective solution to providing energy to the most rural of communities.

While researching water turbine technology as part of his studies at the Tipperary Institute of Technology, Glynn found there were major issues with current technologies. 

Speaking about their decision to invest in the idea, the pair said there was no financially feasible solution to creating hydro-electric energy. “At the beginning of our development we reviewed existing micro-hydro turbine offerings on the market. It was obvious; they did not offer the customer any real value with hyper inflated prices, hence a poor return on investment ranging from 12-30 years.

“On top of this, the surrounding environment and wildlife were and still are generally overlooked; meaning rivers have to be dammed and the natural flow of the river diverted, often ruining the natural landscape and interrupting or preventing natural fish migrations.”

The company has caused ‘ripples’ in the clean-tech industry, receiving accolades in the form of a Business Category award in the 2014 David Manley Awards, and orders worth €150,000 this year for Ireland on top of a €250,000 order for the Asian market in 2015. 

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic