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AMJET Shows Off 1st Hydroelectric Turbine

Jason Parrott
AMJET Turbine Systems has nearly completed its first turbine, which will be placed on a dam along the Mississippi River in Minnesota in April

Paul Roos has been working for years to get his company off the ground in Keokuk. It now appears his efforts are paying off because AMJET Turbine Systems has nearly completed construction of its first hydro-electric turbine.

Roos showed off the progress during an open house, where he said this first turbine will be placed on a dam on the Upper Mississippi River in northern Minnesota in April. He said that's an important step in showing that his product will work on an open waterway.

"It is very difficult to sell units if you do not have one running," said Roos.

"Once we get that one in the water, that will be our primary sales component. We have a list of customers who are interested, but say they cannot buy one until they see if it can work."

It's expected to take about six months to show people that the system works.

Credit Jason Parrott / TSPR
The turbine is about 6' tall.

  Roos said the reason there is a lot of interest in his turbine is because of the cost, with the average number of about $1,500/kilowatt of power produced. He said his product can be placed on a much smaller dam than is normally used for power generation.

"Right now, if you use conventional methods, a dam below 50' of head would be very difficult to install a conventional system on and make it profitable," said Roos. "So our unit, because of the lower cost, we can now go down to 5' of head and still make it profitable."

The turbine that will be installed in Minnesota is only about 6' tall. The units can be mass-produced and be customized to the need of the purchaser.

Roos said AMJET currently employees two part-time workers. He hopes that once the orders start coming in, he will be able to add a few more during 2016 and then even more as demand increases, both nationally and internationally.

Keokuk and Lee County were early investors in AMJET Turbine Systems, providing $350,000 between them in 2010.

Jason Parrott is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.