Micro-hydro anyone?

I've never seen any micro-hydro equipment on NAWS, but then I probably miss half the hippos as well.
I also know it's fraught with trouble just like wind power; the need for a lot more water than you might think to make a decent amount of power and a certain elevated maintenance requirement factor.

But is this something that should be considered to round out the forum to an "all-alternatives" status?
Perhaps it already has been and was rejected with good reason.

Sometimes I think a separate section just for generator discussions would be good too.

Comments

  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,018 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Micro-hydro anyone?

    I have 2 seasonal streams I can tap, both with 100' elevation, which puts them into the USEFUL when sun not shining (rain filling the stream) mode. I've not looked much into actual mfg / models.
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,108 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Micro-hydro anyone?

    100' of head,, given a bit of volume and your home free. Nice thing about micro hydo is that assuming you have reliable water,, you can get predictable power 24/7 possibly 365. I would kill for it,, but we are on a lake.

    Tony
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Micro-hydro anyone?

    We have a creek on our property, and have the water rights. But there are two problems; the main one being it doesn't develop enough mechanical energy to be practical for power generation. I've just had a long conversation with the neighbor about this when he brought up some system that was claiming 15' of head would provide enough power to run all four cabins on the point. Extremely unlikely, to say the least. But it is another example of companies making outrageous claims.

    The other problem is that the creek is fish-bearing, and is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Environment and Fisheries. This means I can't go dam it up and build some significant water pressure. Putting in a long-run pipe from the top would be difficult given the terrain, and the friction losses through that much pipe (over 500 feet) would be significant.

    It's just that I'm always interested in what other people have done and how it's worked out for them. Learning from others' experiences can save you a lot of trouble - and money! :D
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 28,155 admin
    Re: Micro-hydro anyone?

    I fell across a website that had a low head water turbine (3-6'?) that seemed to be I nice installation...

    It was actually an article/web-post that discussed the original installation and its problems and some very clever ideas that really improved the reliability / maintainability of the turbine.

    Basically, some of the improvements they made (as I remember):
    • Built a box around the turbine with an up stream gate (close water flow) and a backside removeable panel that allowed full access to the turbine assembly and the blade inlet with having to "dive". Also, the box had an area for stones to settle away from the turbine inlet.
    • One of the problems that had been occurring was flexible twigs and leaves would accumulate on the turbine blades--requiring frequent "dives" to clear the rotor of debris. The solution was to place a plastic block (may have been metal--just don't remember for sure) that just overhung the rim of the turbine so that it acted like a "knife" to trim the material trapped across the blades and they became self-clearing.
    I wish I could find the article--they had really put some thought into their water works.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • sawmillsawmill Solar Expert Posts: 90 ✭✭✭
    Re: Micro-hydro anyone?

    I have used a small micro-hydro for the last 3 years in conjuction with my solar.

    I have been surprised by the benefit of a small stream in helping the batteries overnight and during short winter days.

    My system consists of a Hugh Piggott PM generator wound for 48v with a Turgo runner. This is run through a MX-60 at the battery bank for a 24v output. My output is 75-100 watts. This with a small stream and only 22 ft of head(9.5psi).

    Mike-with your 100ft head an amazing amount of power can be obtained with a small water flow. That amount of head would dictate a Pelton runner which is much more efficient than a Turgo for extracting power.
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,018 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Micro-hydro anyone?

    I guess I need to find out what a Turgo runner is. I may not be able to utilize all 100 ft, maybe only 75 is usable, before I have to run too much wire. I'm looking at a smallish automotive alternator, wound to 48V, with perm magnets. Got any sources ?
    Hugh Piggott PM generator - I'd have thought that was a bit on the bulky side
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • sawmillsawmill Solar Expert Posts: 90 ✭✭✭
    Re: Micro-hydro anyone?

    Before considering any hydro you MUST determine your flow in gallons per minute and pressure or head. The level on a stick method while slow works very well or you can use assorted lengths of hose, small pipe and pressure gauge to obtain yor head.

    I attended a Don Harris(micro pioneer) workshop sometime back and was quite impressed with his PM alternator. I have no knowledge of the other units available.
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 4,132 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Micro-hydro anyone?

    Home Power, this month has a full page add for a new company making some pretty good deals on small pelton systems. They are stackable. Looks like they are around 1.3K$ Head x flow GPM / 10 should give you ballpark power production, or head x GPS = power.

    http://www.powerspout.com/ [removed httpS -- security cert. not current. -Bill B.]
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

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