Hydroelectric Power - Water power - micro hydro systems

					Hydroelectric Power - Water power -
micro hydro systems

Micro hydro power is probably the least common of the three
readily used renewable energy sources, but it has the potential to
produce the most power, more reliably than solar or wind power if
you have the right site. This means having access to a river or
creek that has a high enough flow to produce useable power for a
good part of the year.
Many creeks and rivers are permanent, ie, they never dry up, and
these are the most suitable for micro-hydro power production.
A micro hydro turbine can take several forms, the most widely
recognized of which would be the water wheel, used extensively
for grain grinding up until this century. Waterwheels are still used
in some situations that do not require a fast-spinning turbine, such
as for pumping water. However, other type of turbines have
become quite common.
Image provided by Bernard Bélisle <belisleb@webnet.qc.ca> of

The most common of these newer turbines is the Pelton wheel,
which is basically a series of cups attached to a hub. A jet of water
is aimed at the cups, and the resulting force on the cups causes the
turbine to spin.

Other types of turbines include the Turgo, Crossflow and various
axial flow turbines, where the shaft through the center of the
turbine runs in the same direction as the water flow, much like a
boat propeller.

Water turbines have many advantages over solar panels or wind
turbines, the most obvious of which is that they produce power
continuously, 24 hours per day. However, they also have some
associated problems or requirements. The most important of these
is correct siting of the turbine and associated equipment so as to
cause the least environmental damage as possible. Placing a large
concrete dam across a creek or river can do considerable damage
to the surrounding ecology. A general rule of thumb is to not divert
more than 20% of the water flow of the creek through your turbine,
and to return any diverted water back to the creek just below the

Other requirements that must be considered are flood protection
for the turbine and how to transmit the power to the batteries,
which may often be located a long way from the water source.

Turning water's mechanical energy into
Since the time of ancient Egypt, people have used the energy in
flowing water to operate machinery and grind grain and corn.
However, hydropower had a greater influence on people's lives
during the 20th century than at any other time in history.
Hydropower played a major role in making the wonders of
electricity a part of everyday life and helped spur industrial
development. Hydropower continues to produce 24 percent of the
world's electricity and supply more than 1 billion people with
Evolution of Hydropower
The first hydroelectric power plant was built in 1882 in Appleton,
Wisconsin to provide 12.5 kilowatts to light two paper mills and a
home. Today's hydropower plants generally range in size from
several hundred kilowatts to several hundred megawatts, but a few
mammoth plants have capacities up to 10,000 megawatts and
supply electricity to millions of people.
Worldwide, hydropower plants have acombined capacity of
675,000 megawatts and annually produce over 2.3 trillion kilowatt-
hours of electricity, the energy equivalent of 3.6 billion barrels of
Hydropower in the U.S.
With a capacity of more than 92,000 mega-watts— enough
electricity to meet the energy needs of 28 million households—the
U.S. is the world's leading hydropower producer. Hydropower
supplies 9 percent of the country's electricity and accounts for 49
percent of all renewable energy used in the U.S.
The nation's largest hydropower plant is the 7,600 megawatt Grand
Coulee power station on the Columbia River in Washington State.
The plant is being upscaled to 10,080 megawatts, which will place
it second in the world behind a colossal 13,320 megawatt plant in

How Hydropower Works
Hydropower converts the energy in flowing water into electricity.
The quantity of electricity generated is determined by the volume
of water flow and the amount of "head" (the height from turbines
in the power plant to the water surface) created by the dam. The
greater the flow and head, the more electricity produced.
A typical hydropower plant includes a dam, reservoir, penstocks
(pipes), a powerhouse and an electrical power substation. The dam
stores water and creates the head; penstocks carry water from the
reservoir to turbines inside the powerhouse; the water rotates the
turbines, which drive generators that produce electricity. The
electricity is then transmitted to a substation where transformers
increase voltage to allow transmission to homes, businesses and
Types of Hydropower Plants
Most hydropower plants are conventional in design, meaning they
use one-way water flow to generate electricity. There are two
categories of conventional plants, run-of-river and storage plants.
Run-of-river plants—These plants use little, if any, stored water
to provide water flow through the turbines. Although some plants
store a day or week's worth of water, weather changes—especially
seasonal changes—cause run-of-river plants to experience
significant fluctuations in power output.

Storage plants—These plants have enough storage capacity to off-
set seasonal fluctuations in water flow and provide a constant
supply of electricity throughout the year. Large dams can store
several years worth of water.

Pumped Storage

In contrast to conventional hydropower plants, pumped storage
plants reuse water. After water initially produces electricity, it
flows from the turbines into a lower reservoir located below the
dam. During off-peak hours (periods of low energy demand), some
of the water is pumped into an upper reservoir and reused during
periods of peak-demand.

Building Hydropower Plants
Most hydropower plants are built through federal or local agencies
as part of a multipurpose project. In addition to generating
electricity, dams and reservoirs provide flood control, water
supply, irrigation, transportation, recreation and refuges for fish
and birds. Private utilities also build hydropower plants, although
not as many as government agencies.

Hydropower is a clean, domestic and renewable source of energy.
Hydropower plants provide inexpensive electricity and produce no
pollution. And, unlike other energy sources such as fossil fuels,
water is not destroyed during the production of electricity—it can
be reused for other purposes.

Hydropower plants can significantly impact the surrounding
area—reservoirs can cover towns, scenic locations and farmland,
as well as affect fish and wildlife habitat. To mitigate impact on
migration patterns and wildlife habitats, dams maintain a steady
stream flow and can be designed or retrofitted with fish ladders
and fishways to help fish migrate upstream to spawn.

The best sites for hydroelectric plants are swift-flowing rivers or
steams, mountainous regions and areas with heavy rainfall. Only
20 percent of potential U.S. hydro-power has been developed, but
unfavorable terrain and environmental concerns make many sites
unsuitable for hydropower plants.
However, since only 2,400 of the nation's 80,000 dams are
currently used for hydropower, new projects do not necessarily
require building new dams—many existing dams can be retrofitted
to produce electricity. At existing hydropower plants, advanced
technologies can be installed to increase efficiently and energy
production. (http://www.nrel.gov/lab/pao/hydroelectric.html)
The Campo Nuevo Watermotor is the only modern turbine
designed to drive common machines directly with
waterpower. It converts waterpower directly into mechanical
power at a highly efficient 80- 85%.
 The Watermotor has
a patented switch that allows instant on/off power control.
This unique feature makes it practical and safe to run
machines directly with waterpower. The combination of high
efficiency and power control makes it possible to use much
smaller waterpower sources than ever before.
water-power has been in use for thousands of years, with
the Watermotor small scale waterpower has become a vast
new natural energy resource.
 Most of the common
machines used in workshops, industry, and farms are driven
by motors of only .5 - 5 horsepower. The Watermotor will
produce this amount of power at an extremely low cost and
with a minimum of ecological disruption.

Micro-Hydro Power Plant overview & basic math formulas &
conversion needed to find "Head", "PSI", Flow Losses" &
Power Output.

A basic explanation of how an electric motor may be used as a
generator. Also includes safety precautions for and the reasons
they are needed.

A large table containing pipe flow losses for Sch 40 steel &
PVC pipe with diameters from 3/4" to 42" & flow fates to
56,000 GPM ( 7486 CFS)

Weirs and several other methods for measuring water flow
from small streams to rivers. Diagrams & specs. included for
weirs as well as weir charts.

Several Tables detailing various mechanical properties of
various pipe types (PVC, Steel & Others)

A basic outline of why a Governor or Load Control is needed
for Asynchronous (Real) Generators, as well as some AC
theory within the context of line frequency & high & low
voltage conditions.

Most of the basic Turbine types are on this page with photos
and their theory of operation. Several "Older" turbine types
will also be found here

"The Banki Water Turbine", Oregon State University, Civil
Engineering ,Department Engineering Bulletin Number 25
By C. A. Mockmore and Fred Mayfield. Originally published
in 1949. Details the theory of operation of the crossflow
turbine. Very math intensive.

Various "home-brew"' method for machine work need for the
Banki Crossflow Turbine.

Basic aspects of waterhammer. What it is, how to control /
prevent it as well the math to find peak excess pressure.

A look into the past. A variety of waterwheel types with

Various "Hardcopy" publications I used as research for this
web site as well as internet links relative to hydro power/

By Joe Cole
Jcole1@carolina.rr.com <Jcole1@carolina.rr.com>

                          Micro-hydropower Sourcebook, a Practical Guide to D
                          Developing Countries by Allen Inversin, Third Printing, 1
                          shipping and handling in the U.S. (Overseas prices availab
                          This standard text/reference book used worldwide leads th
                          site selection through to project layout, design, and implem
                          photographs, drawings, tables, and graphs. http://internatio
Micro Hydro Systems work?
 Hydro power is an old
established method of energy production.
 Water is captured via
a filter / intake structure and passes downhill in a pipeline to the
turbine. The water exits the pipe under pressure through a nozzle
and strikes a water wheel (runner). The force of which spins the
runner which is direct coupled to an electricity generating
permanent magnet alternator or enhanced performance induction
generator. The electricity is then electronically regulated and
transmitted via cable for use. http://www.netc.net.au/platypus/


People living in remote locations are often denied the benefits of electricity. Diese
kerosene, batteries and firewood only supply certain energy needs. These are often
to transport, require ongoing expense and ultimately damage the local environmen
PowerPal micro-hydroelectric generators provide an effective alternative. Many is
settlements are located next to permanent streams that can be used to harness the p
micro-hydro electricity 24 hours a day. Until now, cost and reliability have been m
issues. Powerpal has successfully addressed these issues. http://www.powerpal.co

Micro-Hydro List - Egroups - This discussion group focuses on
technical and non-technical aspects of run-of-river micro
hydropower schemes.

Pinecrest Hydro - Many land owners look wishfully at the creek
that flows through their property. They dream of tapping the power
of the water, but they are not blessed with a waterfall or with any
way to develop a head of ten to twenty feet. (The head is the
vertical drop of the water.) All they have is a high volume creek
flowing through relatively flat land. I designed this system to
illustrate the feasibility of using an ultra low head hydroelectric
system to provide "usable amounts" of electric power. This system
is designed to be located in the creek bed using a small dam to
provide a minimum head. The prototype micro-hydroelectric
system operates on a head of about 2.75 feet!

http://www.geocities.com/wim_klunne/hydro/index.html The
definition of micro hydropower varies in different countries
and can even included systems with a capacity of a few
megawatts. One of the many definitions for micro
hydropower is: hydro systems up till a rated capacity of
approximately 300 kW capacity. The limit is set to 300 kW
because this is about the maximum size for most stand
alone hydro systems not connected to the grid, and suitable
for "run-of-the-river" installations.

http://members.tripod.com/nxtwave/gaiatech/index.html To make a
pulser pump, you need a good flow of water. If your stream is a
foot deep (30 cm), 2 yards wide, (or 2 meters wide) and flowing at
walking pace, then its plenty big enough. You need somewhere
where the water falls (or can fall) about 2 feet 60 cm (about knee
high will do). At that place, you can make a pulser pump beside
the stream (and a fish ladder in the stream). It can be made using
15 cm diameter plastic pipes and 2.5 cm diameter plastic pipes and
pipe fittings to connect them. 8 or 9 meters of 15 cm pipe is
required and about 7 m of 2.5 cm pipe. A hole 4 m to 5 m deep,
at least 1 m wide and at least 3 m long is required.

Our current focus is on the development and implementation of
very efficient water pumping technologies that would be useful in
agricultural and business applications in both industrialized
countries and third world countries around the globe. Not only is
this emerging technology efficient it is also cost effective. This
water pumping technology is being developed in a manner that
would allow local communities to manufacture this efficient water
pump in their own communities by their own cottage industries
with local materials.

The following information is provided to help you consider small
to mid-sized hydroelectric generators that are designed to be 12,
24, or 48 volt battery chargers. A stream or creek is needed - they
operate with a relatively small volume of water. They charge
batteries 24 hours per day, and the power can be drawn from the
battery. As little as 100 gallons per minute (GPM) falling only 10
feet through a pipe, or 5 gallons per minute falling 200 feet
through a pipe can supply enough power to run a small household.

Micro-hyrdo power was one of the earliest of the small scale
renewable energy technologies to be developed, and is still an
important source of energy today. This short course provides a
basic understanding of resource assessment, conversion technology
and evaluation of costs and benefits to end users. The fees for the
course are given below.

micro hydro
It appears that, for a small initial outlay (about $1,000), a micro-
hydro system could be set up which will generate sufficient power
to run two or more houses. It may be more efficient to have one
large setup, or it may be more efficient to distribute the load. In
any case, we will need a site which is fairly damp and has constant
running water, but that's okay, because thats exactly the sort of
place we'd like to live in anyways.
micro hydro suppliers
  Rainbow Power Company
  Platypus power
  Planetary Power
  Kevin Whitehead
  Horwood Bagshaw
The Micro Hydro Centre has been carrying out research into low-
cost equipment for small-scale hydro-electric power (up to
100kW) since 1985. The main motivation for this research is to
develop and disseminate standardised hydro generator units that
are directly affordable by villagers in developing countries,
financially viable, through fuel savings and income generation,
and suitable for local manufacture and use in adverse conditions.
In addition to research and development the Micro Hydro Centre
is involved in information dissemination, training and technology

Micro-hydro is a proven cost effective renewable energy system. If
you have access to a reliable flow of water, it should be an option
you consider. The energy of running water is harnessed by a
turbine and converted to electricity.
The amount of energy you produce depends on water pressure
(measured in terms of "head"or the vertical distance from the water
take-off point down to the turbine), and volume, (measured as
"flow" in litres per second.) Heads as low as 5 meters and flows of
1 litre per second will produce power. Low head systems require
large water flows, and low flow systems require a high head.
Independent Power & Light supplies photovoltaic(PV) panels,
small hydropower turbines (microhydro), wind generators,
inverters, batteries, power control panels, meters and other
materials required to put together a complete off-grid power
system along with expertise in design, installation and adapting the
system to the individual site and requirements.
Small or mini–micro hydro power is one of the earliest known
renewable energy sources, in existence in the country since the
beginning of the 20th century. In fact much before that, the
technology was used in Himalayan villages in the form of
waterwheels to provide motive power to run devices like
grinders. References to mechanical energy extraction have been
found from as early as twelfth century.

From falls of water as low as 3 feet with flows as small as 12
GPM, hydro systems can take your creek, spring, pond, river, or
runoff water and turn it into clean, efficient electricity. This can
put a lid on rising power bills or create a completely independent
power system at the lowest cost. In areas with high rainfalls in the
winter and sunny summers, hydro combines naturally with solar
electricity for year-round independence. http://www.jade-

Over twenty two years experience in micro hydro, utility
 turbine designs and modern production techniques, have
 combined to bring the first ultra-low head micro turbine to
 renewable energy market. http://www.waterturbine.com/

An Easy to Build and Operate Induction Generator

Motors as Generators for Micro-Hydro Power
by Nigel Smith
$13.95 (includes USA shipping), 1997, 82 pages.
 Nigel Smith
shows you how to convert ordinary induction motors for use in
micro-hydro applications. Covers topics such as motor selection,
efficiency, advantages and disadvantages of induction motors vs.
other types of generator, capacitor requirements, voltage and
frequency, load considerations, conversion of 3 phase to 1 phase,
motor startup, and more! Covers both theory and practice of using
commonly available induction motors for DIY micro-hydro
applications. If you have a stream and want to build your own
micro-hydro plant, you must check this out. Order it now from
US Army Corp of Engineers manuals sometime provide
 background information and can be useful They have
numerous manuals of dams and river hydraulics.


Planning for Sustainable
Keyline is a set of principles, techniques and systems, which form
the logical basis for a practical plan for the sustainable
development of rural and urban landscapes.
The first book on Keyline book was published in 1954. In it, P.A.
Yeomans exploded the myth that it takes 1,000 years to produce an
inch of topsoil. Yeomans pioneered, among other things, the use of
on farm irrigation dams in Australian, as well as chisel plows and
subsoil aerating rippers. Yeomans perfected a system of amplified
contour ripping that controlled rainfall run off and enabled the fast
flood irrigation of undulating land with out the need for land
terracing. http://www.keyline.com.au/




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