Press Release

GEI Consultants, Oldcastle Precast and French Development Enterprises, LLC, successfully complete prototype of the “French Dam”

October 21, 2016

Boston, Mass. – October 21, 2016 – GEI Consultants, Inc., Old Castle Precast (Littleton, CO) and French Development Enterprises, LLC (FDE) (North Billerica, MA) announce the successful construction of the first prototype “French Dam”- a modular precast impoundment for construction and retrofit of hydroelectric dams, water control systems and power houses.

“The French Dam will be a game changer for the Hydro industry,” states Bill French Sr. the Founder and President of FDE. “It simply replaces traditional construction methods with off-site manufacturing and on-site installation, making the entire process just-in-time ready and weather independent.”

The 24 ft. long x 16 ft. high prototype, designed by GEI Consultants in cooperation with Oldcastle Precast, consists of six 27,000 lb. concrete 8’ x 8’ x 8’ blocks interconnected with each other, anchored to the foundation, forming one monolithic structure.  Upon arriving from Old Castle’s manufacturing plant in Avon, CT, the entire dam was installed and assembled in less than 3.5 hours during a heavy rainstorm.

“We believe the “French Dam” has ultimate flexibility and includes a sophisticated and innovative approach, making it adaptable for almost every type of site conditions for construction of new and retrofit small to medium Hydroelectric, Water Control Systems and Power Houses in the United States,” says Varoujan Hagopian, PE, Senior Consultant of GEI Consultants.

“With the introduction of modular precast technology to dam construction we can significantly decrease time, reduce cost and minimize risk of the civil stage of the construction process, making it more feasible and attractive to investors, developers and dam owners,” says Lenny Lozinsky, Executive VP of FDE.

FDE’s patented technology for Rapid Dam Construction was funded for $1.7 Million in January 2016 by the United States Department of Energy (U.S. DOE) under funding opportunity “Research and Development of Innovative Technologies for Low Impact Hydropower Development” (DE-FOA-0001286) and was further supported by a grant from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC).

“Building on Massachusetts’ long history of innovation, this investment advances inventive technologies and strengthens renewable energy infrastructure that powers the Commonwealth with clean energy resources such as hydropower,” said Mass CEC Interim CEO Steve Pike. “By modernizing our energy infrastructure, we are capitalizing on investments that produce cost reductions and economic growth to benefit residents across Massachusetts.”

The construction of the prototype of the modular hydro dam comes less than three months after the U.S. DOE released its Hydropower VISION report, which recommended modular approaches to new in-stream hydropower facilities.  In this report, the U.S. DOE proposes a standardized approach under which a “suite of modular components for foundation, generation and stream passage may be considered and fit together to meet site-specific parameters as well as environmental and power generation objectives.”

“Precast concrete is one of world’s most functional and versatile building materials— manufactured in a controlled environment,” says Bob Kramer, Vice President of Marketing and Product Development, Oldcastle Precast.  “The result is a cost-effective and reliable solution.  Precast Concrete can help to make any project more efficient.  It is exciting to see its application as an innovative technology in the construction of Hydro Dams.”

 

About GEI Consultants: GEI’s multidisciplined team of engineers, scientists, and planners deliver integrated water resources, environmental, ecological, geotechnical and waterfront engineering solutions to diverse clientele nationwide.  The firm has provided a broad range of consulting and engineering services on over 35,000 projects in 50 states and 22 countries.  GEI was ranked #94 on the 2016 ENR Top 500 Design Firms list. For more information on GEI, please visit www.geiconsultants.com

About French Development Enterprises, LLC (FDE): FDE is a Boston based civil engineering and consulting firm that develops innovative and cost effective technologies for the renewable energy marketplace.  The “French Dam” is a U.S. patented Next Generation Precast Modular Construction and Retrofit technology for building new and refurbishment of existing small and medium head hydroelectric, water control systems and power houses in the United States and Canada.  www.fdepower.com

About Oldcastle Precast: Oldcastle Precast is committed to simplifying and accelerating the building of North America’s infrastructure by providing pre-engineered factory-constructed solutions.  Oldcastle Precast is the leading provider of engineered building solutions serving a number of markets including water, transportation, communications, energy and building structures. www.oldcastleprecast.com

Media Contact:

Chris Pestana
Marketing Communications Manager
400 Unicorn Park Drive
Woburn, MA 01801
cpestana@geiconsultants.com