Micro-hydro systems?

There's more to renewable energy than just wind and solar power - hydro, wave, geothermal to name a few. Discuss these RE alternatives here!

Re: Micro-hydro systems?

Postby mikef » Wed Oct 31, 2012 2:30 pm

Gordon-Loomberah wrote:
Also, you might be able to get a bit more flow by adding more of those washing machine filters at the top end, there must be a bit of flow restriction with them? Of course you no doubt have smooth curves rather than right angle bends in the piping, bends are bad news for frictional losses due to the turbulence they cause.



We banged the holes in the agitator of the washing machine to be slightly bigger (3mm with a nail and hammer). There is no restriction of flow there because if there was it would suck air in through the pipe we have put in for that purpose when the it occasionally gets blocked.

You can see that pipe lifting off to the right of the picture to a position above any high flood level. This means that if the whole system clogged up on the top it starts sucking air down the pipe (it also lifts from the end you can see on filter somewhat oas well as it fills inside with air) . The pressure drops to the turbines due to bubbles of air in the pipe and small amounts of air make it to the turbine end and I can record a drop in output. It is just a matter of turning off the system for a few minutes, the filter sinks into the water again (cleaned on top by the dried leaves just falling off with air) and it all works for another couple of months.

The F&P washing machines allow the megnetism on the stater to be increased or decreased to tune it to the conditions by twisting the nut on underneath. They make such good renewable generators that is is amazing that they are just thrown out!!

I have such a great supply of parts as well as tracker mentioned.

I am amazed how well it all works. I would suggest for anyone to go to their local tip and source a F&P smart drive washing machine to have a play with. They can be configured to run from voltages of 300volts down to about 20v making them very adaptable as Power-spout have obviously done.
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Re: Micro-hydro systems?

Postby Tracker » Wed Oct 31, 2012 3:55 pm

mikef wrote:They can be configured to run from voltages of 300volts down to about 20v making them very adaptable as Power-spout have obviously done.

I like the way that you have utilised the WHOLE tub and assembly.. You overcame the issue of the sloppy outer tub, by using the drum - VERY good thinking..
Can you get stainless 44Gln Drums..?
..
.
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Re: Micro-hydro systems?

Postby mikef » Wed Oct 31, 2012 4:38 pm

Probably can get stainless drums but they would be expensive I imagine. Thought of plastic ones also but the metal ones work so much better as a holder for the jets and as you mention to make the plastic libner of the tub rigid. The metal drums are only 5 dollars each from a fruit juice company and are galvanised (and green) so it is not really an issue.

Also they are not rusting after 9 months in fresh water. When they do I will just replace them with another one :)
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Re: Micro-hydro systems?

Postby Gordon-Loomberah » Wed Oct 31, 2012 4:45 pm

Apiarists also use galvanised 200l drums, and may have an occasional damaged one for sale.
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Re: Micro-hydro systems?

Postby Peterf » Fri May 17, 2013 5:30 pm

Just adding a few notes to the F&P micro hydro run by my son Mikef.
The F & P we were using were 42 pole 56 magnet .8 mm windings.
The original (motor) setup was three circuits of 14 poles each on a star configuration.
We found a delta configuration gave lower volts but much higher amps.
We calculated the nozzle speed of the jets at 65 to 70 % pressure of the static head gave a best output at around 900 rpm.
At that speed we found the best configuration of the wiring to be series of seven by two poles connected in parallel although the 3,3,3,3,2 configuration in the photo had a similar output . The delta 3 phase output drove rectifiers for the 48 to 54 volts DC needed for the system.
I understand the later F & P's run a 36 pole 48 magnet arrangement which are much more amenable to rewiring ( I.E divisible by 2,3,4,6 or left at 12)
The F & P's have an adjusting nut on the rotating magnets to allow the magnets to be made more or less agressive.
We tried larger jets (about 9mm ) that allowed about 800 watts output with 2 jets using the optimum flow.
We decided that two units of 2 by 5mm jets gave us the best output and greater flexibility.
At the most agressive setting ( 0 turns on the nut ) we could drag the rpm down to 300 to 350 which wasted most of the potential.
Tweeking for maximum output was:-
1. Use the smaller nozzles to reduce escaped flow past the cups.
2. Adjust the magnets agressiveness to give around 900 rpm for this site ( aprox 2 turns up on the coarse threaded nut )
3. Adjust the nozzles position both verticall and horizontally ( bend the drum) so the jets produced maximum output.
Observations:-
Sit back and watch how fast you can make the utilities power meter go in reverse.
The mains grid is the biggest battery you can get.
All the electrics up to the grid tie inverters are non lethal.
A dumper ( if the grid goes down ) can heat a lot of water.
F & P would be hard pressed to design a better unit for micro hydro production.
Cheers
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Re: Micro-hydro systems?

Postby gyro » Fri May 17, 2013 6:53 pm

Hi All
Wish I had enough fall to do the Pelton wheel thing but at only 800mm I have to do what I can with natural flow. I constracted an undershot water wheel 1200mm diameter x 600mm wide with 11 paddles with "A" section vee belt drive with speed doubler pulleys to permanent magnet generator 800 watt at 48 volts DC. I had it running during good rain and worked very well producing 56 volts to my 48 volt battery bank. The only problem I had was my wife said the slapping noise created by the back of the paddles hitting the water on return was too loud and would upset close neighbors. I fitted 75mm thin steel ledges to the paddles to cut into the water so as to stop the noise, this worked but slowed the thing down so I could only get 40 volts out of it. My next step is to get some sort of reduction device to increase the speed at the generator perhaps a motorbike gearbox so I can select the best speed to get correct voltage. This will have to wait until I return from cruise trip down the Rhine and hopefully get some more ideas along the way.
Cheers Antonius
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Re: Micro-hydro systems?

Postby Smurf1976 » Wed Nov 06, 2013 10:23 pm

Large hydro plants generally use Pelton (high head) or Francis (medium head) turbines however Kaplan (low head) turbines are also used.

So here's a photo of a Kaplan turbine. I'm posting it simply because most would never have seen one of these (I assume) and the design is quite different to what you might expect.

This one is at Paloona power station (Tas) and drives a 28 MW alternator. There's nothing "wrong" with it as such, but it's an old design which has the central hub full of oil - a significant environmental risk should it fail. It is thus being replaced with a modern design which avoids the oil and which is slightly more efficient too. Paloona has been operating since 1972 but is currently completely shut down for the upgrade which will take about 10 months to complete (due to be finished Autumn 2014).

Water throughput at full load is 106,000 litres per second, static head is 32 metres and the machine operates at 188 RPM.

Note that this is a Hydro Tasmania official photo not mine. The original can be found here. http://www.hydro.com.au/annual-reports/ ... cture2.jpg

Paloona Turbine replacement 2013.jpg
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Re: Micro-hydro systems?

Postby Chaff_Cutter » Mon Dec 23, 2013 2:25 pm

Hi!

mikef wrote:You can see that pipe lifting off to the right of the picture to a position above any high flood level. This means that if the whole system clogged up on the top it starts sucking air down the pipe (it also lifts from the end you can see on filter somewhat oas well as it fills inside with air) . The pressure drops to the turbines due to bubbles of air in the pipe and small amounts of air make it to the turbine end and I can record a drop in output.


I would have thought that air in a high pressure line to the turbine would be bad for it?

Lots of sudden stresses on the pelton wheel would surely reduce its lifespan?

I'm sure we have all seen seen what air bubbles can do in garden hoses and even the house plumbing with the air rushing out of the hose or tap without the same restriction that water provides.
Huge amounts of overpressure when the air runs out and the water then hits the restriction.

Has this been a problem?

Are you using Poly or PVC for your penstock?

Would an anti- 'water hammer' type contraption or some sort of accumulator (maybe something like whats found on a lot of stored pressure pumps for house water) located just up from the turbine help prevent any overpressure problems from air bubbles in the penstock?

I'd hate to have burst pipes or joins from this scenario or am I just being paranoid? :o

Great looking setup mikef and this is exactly what I'll be aiming for when I invest in some lovely acres in Tas :D

Cheers
Scotty
If it all gets too hard, just remember we are talking monkeys floating through the universe on a spaceship called Earth!
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Re: Micro-hydro systems?

Postby mikef » Mon Dec 23, 2013 2:51 pm

Hi Scotty

Chaff_Cutter wrote:I would have thought that air in a high pressure line to the turbine would be bad for it?

Lots of sudden stresses on the pelton wheel would surely reduce its lifespan?...
...
Has this been a problem?


Not that I have noticed. I am sure there are more stresses but this has not been a problem at all. I have PN8 90mm poly pipe which I am sure helps to handle the pressure changes from the resulting water hammer by expanding and contracting to smooth it all out. The pelton wheel has had to handle much worse with the recent heavey rains opening up my filter and all sorts of leaves and floating bits and pieces (smaller than 8mm mind you) being flung onto them. It is amazing just how resilient these things are :)

Chaff_Cutter wrote:Are you using Poly or PVC for your penstock?


PN8 90mm poly pipe



Chaff_Cutter wrote:Would an anti- 'water hammer' type contraption or some sort of accumulator (maybe something like whats found on a lot of stored pressure pumps for house water) located just up from the turbine help prevent any overpressure problems from air bubbles in the penstock?


The poly pipe seems to do the job of this but it would not be a problem to put something like that in the system. It would also help with controlling the potential to burst a pipe if someone snapped off one of the ball valves at the jet end instead of closing them slowly.

Chaff_Cutter wrote:I'd hate to have burst pipes or joins from this scenario or am I just being paranoid? :o


Being careful seems to help :) Any system could have issues if someone was not paying attention an practicing due diligence.

Chaff_Cutter wrote:Great looking setup mikef and this is exactly what I'll be aiming for when I invest in some lovely acres in Tas :D


It is still a pleasure to see 980W of power being produced by this system for the last 2 years in operation.

The water got too low to run it for about 3 months earlier this year as it was so dry and hot here but this year I hope to run it right through.

If or when you are down this way, feel free to come and take a look at the system yourself. We have certainly ironed out all the little things that would trip someone up.

It really is amazing just how simple it is to do once you have a model to follow.

Cheers
Mike F
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Re: Micro-hydro systems?

Postby Chaff_Cutter » Mon Dec 23, 2013 3:51 pm

mikef wrote:The pelton wheel has had to handle much worse with the recent heavey rains opening up my filter and all sorts of leaves and floating bits and pieces (smaller than 8mm mind you) being flung onto them. It is amazing just how resilient these things are :)


Resilient is one thing I am after! Buy it once I say :D

mikef wrote:Being careful seems to help :) Any system could have issues if someone was not paying attention an practicing due diligence.


I would seriously consider gate valves instead of balls.

mikef wrote:It is still a pleasure to see 980W of power being produced by this system for the last 2 years in operation.


A pleasure indeed! :D

mikef wrote:If or when you are down this way, feel free to come and take a look at the system yourself. We have certainly ironed out all the little things that would trip someone up.


I'd love to call in and have me a sticky beak at it. :geek: I'm hoping to spend a week doing recon in Tas sometime mid Feb.

mikef wrote:It really is amazing just how simple it is to do once you have a model to follow.

Just having that idea implanted by someone is great, actually having input and discussing the model would be invaluable!


Cheers
Scotty
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