Natel Energy is in the process of setting up hydropower turbines with turbines that are fish-safe and comes with other features replicating the natural conditions of rivers.
Natel Energy was founded by Abe Schneider and Gia Schneider who were both alumni of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Growing up in a rural area of Texas, Abe and Gia always had something to do on their farm. However, on Saturdays at 2 in the afternoon, their family would always go to their local creek to fish, play on rope swings, and enjoy the beauty of nature.
Eventually, the Schneider family started going to a secluded river in Colorado every summer. The river was divided into two; one area was managed by local ranchers who have carelessly destroyed natural structures such as beaver dams while the other area of the river remains untouched. The family has observed that fishing is much better on the river’s preserved side and this has led Abe to attempt to evaluate the health of the river’s two areas.
The two then co-authored a paper that shows the abundance of beneficial insects in river beds with beaver dams. Their experience has taught them a lesson that they still live by to date.
Now, both siblings are co-founders of Natel Energy which is a company dedicated to replicating the natural ecosystems of rivers with hydropower solutions that are way more sustainable than traditional hydropower plants.
According to the Schneider siblings, the key takeaway and motivation for them to do what they do are to develop infrastructures that can potentially improve the environment’s health. For them, beaver dams are an excellent example of such infrastructure.
Through the introduction of innovative, fish-safe hydropower turbines with features replicating the natural conditions of rivers, the founders said their plants can meet hydropower plant efficiency while maintaining environmental sustainability. By improving existing hydropower plants and cultivating new projects, they believe that they can bolster a hydropower industry that is going to be the biggest renewable electricity source in the world.
According to Gia, hydropower plants are designed these days with the sole purpose of producing power. She added that if we truly aim for growth, we need to build a power plant with both efficiency and sustainability in mind.
Developments like this are crucial in the current fight against climate change. With the constant effort to provide off-grid electricity, the goal of a more sustainable future should not be swept under the rug.