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Hydrovolts, a Seattle startup that developed turbines to generate clean power from canals, is hemorrhaging cash and is on the brink of liquidation, GeekWire has learned. Founder and former CEO Burt Hamner resigned from the board this week, and a board meeting had been planned for Tuesday afternoon to discuss liquidation.

Representatives for Hydrovolts could not be reached for comment via email, and the company’s voice mail system was not accepting new messages. Earlier this month, the company was looking for emergency funding of $500,000 in order to keep the lights on.

The company, which won the Water-Energy Nexus Prize in San Francisco two years ago for its technology, had been struggling to raise new cash after missing milestones. It had been looking to 2013 as an important year to start commercializing its turbines.

Hamner stepped down as CEO last year, leaving the company in the hands of Mike Layton. It raised $1.5 million last year.

Hydrovolts had been headquartered at the McKinstry Innovation Center in South Seattle. It was started after Hamner was hired to help the City of Tacoma explore tidal energy opportunities in the Tacoma Narrows waterway.

The company’s hydrokinetic turbines were designed to create low-cost power at canals, municipal waterways and irrigation systems. The company had been targeting its systems for use in factories, water treatment plants and wastewater facilities. It had planned to roll out its 2.5 and 15 kW waterfall turbines, and a 12 kW canal turbine early this year.

We’ll update this post as we learn more.

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