News about Hydro4U’s innovation

Despite its proven potential, small-scale hydropower in Central Asia remains largely underdeveloped, even as electricity demand continues to grow. To address this challenge, the Hydro4U project aims to introduce innovative, modular, and standardized European hydropower technologies suitable for both low-head and medium-head applications in the region. By adapting these technologies to Central Asia, Hydro4U aims to demonstrate their viability within a forward-looking cross-border Water/Food/Energy/Climate nexus and enhance their price competitiveness. Additionally, the project supports European hydropower manufacturers and service providers in preparing for entry into the Central Asian market, with Steinbeis leading the way.


Innovation management in Hydro4U


From the start of the project, Steinbeis has been diligently monitoring the innovative outcomes, assisting partners in articulating their results in terms of their substance, intended utilization, and ownership of Intellectual Property.


In an effort to facilitate the introduction of the most promising results into the market, Steinbeis orchestrated the efforts of four Project Partners (TUM, GHE, Muhr, CARTIF) with innovative solutions. They conducted a thorough market analysis, which will be the foundation for the design of robust business models and pave the way for the future exploitation of their individual solutions in Central Asia.


Evaluation of the market is key


Understanding the targeted market is key to a successful exploitation. For the innovative solutions selected, some of the following elements were analysed: customer segments,  competition and the forces at play, feasibility of operations (initial assessment on how to create, deliver and capture value), identify potential problems.


This evaluation was tackled at the micro-environmental level, i.e. the factors, an organisation is directly interacting with (e.g. customers, suppliers, competitors) and at the macro-environmental level, i.e. external factors that are beyond control of the organisation but have impact on it or on its micro-environment.


To round up the market analysis, an assessment of chances (strengths, opportunities) and risks (weaknesses, threats) for each solution was carried out in the form of a SWOT analysis. This, in turn, should help the owners of these four innovative solutions to use the gained knowledge to design stronger business models for their solutions.


As a conclusion, we were able to establish the attractiveness of the Central Asian SHP sector for European suppliers of products and services. Not only there is a large untapped small hydropower potential, but further potential might be unlocked considering all the remote sites that are only accessible by solutions from Hydro4U. Also, Central Asian is characterised by a growing energy demand combined with an increasing public acceptance towards renewable energy supply. The four Hydro4U results meet these opportunities with appealing solutions. Those innovations create a win-win situation, as the high quality products keep maintenance costs low in the long run, while they guarantee ecological sustainability and flexibility to adapt to different geographical and infrastructural conditions.


In the Central Asian market, however, challenges may arise from the energy policy with regard to the feed-in tariffs, the cultural differences, the language barrier or the great distance between manufacturers and the operating sites. Not to mention the fact that competition is strong in the hydropower industry with Central Asia.

What is next


In the next steps, the partners will be supported in the drafting of appropriate Business Models and strategies to operate successfully in Central Asia.



Author and picture credits: Isabelle Dubreuilh, Steinbeis Europa Zentrum


Website: Innovation Funding | Steinbeis Europa Zentrum – Steinbeis EN (