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!

Micro-hydro systems?

Postby MichaelB » Mon Nov 02, 2009 3:07 pm

Has anyone dabbled in micro-hydro systems? I'd be interested to hear about your experiences :)
Michael B.
Energy Matters Forum Team (Please note: I am not a solar tech or installer)

Check out Energy Matters' current solar power specials
or try our instant online solar quoting system!
User avatar
MichaelB
Energy Matters Team
Energy Matters Team
 
Posts: 388
Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2009 12:03 pm

Re: Micro-hydro systems?

Postby Gordon-Loomberah » Mon Nov 02, 2009 3:38 pm

I'm in the process of setting one up, to be used as non-battery energy storage.
I have a pelton wheel, alternator, enough water in a tank near the house, 10500l tank 85m altitude up the hill, and mono pump to get the water up there. I'm waiting for the finances to accumulate a bit more before the final splurge on a few hundred metres of 50 and 63mm poly pipe, lower PN8 rating 63mm for the top, higher PN10 or 12.5 rating 50mm for the lower end of the pipe run. I'm still thinking about a surge protector in case the ball valve is turned off too fast - which may result in burst fittings or pipe.
Initially I'll turn the water flow on and off manually, but have figured out how to operate it all automatically if the battery voltage drops below a set point. I've already got the automatic pumping up the hill when the batteries reach the absorb charge stage sorted for the house pressure tank, its just a matter of connecting the new pipe to the T on the pump outlet for the higher hydro pressure tank, along with a 2nd pressure switch and some control wiring. I've calculated that I should be able to recover ~1.7kWh from the 10500l tank, and may add some more storage tanks up there when I can afford to. They will double as a source of high pressure water for fire fighting near the house.

Gordon
http://gunagulla.com Loomberah weather and astronomy including live solar radiation intensity and UV + Gunagulla aquaponics, organic eggs and cherries
User avatar
Gordon-Loomberah
Community Moderator
 
Posts: 5374
Joined: Thu Sep 24, 2009 10:41 pm
Location: Loomberah NSW Australia

Re: Micro-hydro systems?

Postby MichaelB » Mon Nov 02, 2009 7:40 pm

Thanks Gordon,

As I was typing out the question, I thought to myself, "I bet Gordon has a micro-hydro setup" :D

I envision a great business for you - charging folks admission to see what you've achieved out on your patch! Seriously, I think quite a few of the community would pay to see it all as it sounds like a renewable energy wonderland :)

As always, thanks for the input Gordon, keep us updated on how it all pans out!
Michael B.
Energy Matters Forum Team (Please note: I am not a solar tech or installer)

Check out Energy Matters' current solar power specials
or try our instant online solar quoting system!
User avatar
MichaelB
Energy Matters Team
Energy Matters Team
 
Posts: 388
Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2009 12:03 pm

Re: Micro-hydro systems?

Postby mikef » Thu Dec 31, 2009 3:26 pm

I am starting the process of setting one up and have done a lot of research.

there is a fantastic program available from this page (energyalternatives.ca) called "Microhydro Power Calculator"

I have played with this calculator for many many hours fiddling with pipe sizes expected flows and static head figures and it really puts into perspective what you will get from your system when you set it up.

One very interesting part is trying different pipe sizes and length and head amounts to optimise the pipe size for the particular money and system size. Also what to expect from different alternators as well.

Will keep you up to date as I slowly put it all together if you like.
mikef
Solar Supporter
Solar Supporter
 
Posts: 22
Joined: Tue Dec 29, 2009 11:51 am

Re: Micro-hydro systems?

Postby Tracker » Sat Jan 02, 2010 8:36 pm

Gordon - just get a 50mm GATE valve..

They can't be "Snapped Shut" -- not ever !
.
.
Retired Engineer and keen PV experimenter - Always ready to learn and share.
2 x CMS2000 (fan cooled) GCI and SE 170W panels
1.7kW First Solar/Outback Island circuit - Peak Replacement Power
Governments won't save the world :-) They will just TAX it :-(
Tracker
Solar Crusader
Solar Crusader
 
Posts: 5067
Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2009 6:54 am
Location: SYDNEY --- EA - Network, Retailer - EA

Re: Micro-hydro systems?

Postby Gordon-Loomberah » Sun Jan 03, 2010 8:12 am

yea, got a few of them on tanks, slow to turn off for sure, but not so easy to automate.
http://gunagulla.com Loomberah weather and astronomy including live solar radiation intensity and UV + Gunagulla aquaponics, organic eggs and cherries
User avatar
Gordon-Loomberah
Community Moderator
 
Posts: 5374
Joined: Thu Sep 24, 2009 10:41 pm
Location: Loomberah NSW Australia

Re: Micro-hydro systems?

Postby mikef » Sun Jan 03, 2010 11:39 am

Would like to set up this system if I could find the water source and money!!

And it has automated the ball valves and would do it slowly.

http://www.microhydropower.com/images/DSCF0816.JPG

But this system would not suffer the same problem as a single pipe as it would likely not shut it off all at once one would imagine.
mikef
Solar Supporter
Solar Supporter
 
Posts: 22
Joined: Tue Dec 29, 2009 11:51 am

Re: Micro-hydro systems?

Postby Gordon-Loomberah » Sun Jan 03, 2010 1:45 pm

mikef wrote:Would like to set up this system if I could find the water source and money!!


Yes its going to be very expensive to set up a large system like that. You must have a source though, or do you live in the desert?

I don't have to look too far for my source, it falls out of the sky onto my roof ;)

Gordon
http://gunagulla.com Loomberah weather and astronomy including live solar radiation intensity and UV + Gunagulla aquaponics, organic eggs and cherries
User avatar
Gordon-Loomberah
Community Moderator
 
Posts: 5374
Joined: Thu Sep 24, 2009 10:41 pm
Location: Loomberah NSW Australia

Re: Micro-hydro systems?

Postby mikef » Sun Jan 03, 2010 8:42 pm

Ah that is a good source Gordon.

I am far from the desert. I had nearly 1300mm last year though my average is closer to 950mm

I actually have a full time creek which is a definite bonus for where I live. I have access to about 5 liters a second averaged over summer and winter (half its flow) and expect to get about 450 to 500 watts from the system constantly each year after system losses. I have access to about 20 - 25m static head through 75mm poly pipe and into a Canadian designed Stream Engine that is pretty efficient in the scheme of things (85-90% according to their table of figures).

In fact they are the Micro Hydro in the pic above.

I think if one could run 3 of them then it would be self sufficiency plus money for grid tied as well. Might help pay back themselves. They are quite capable of putting out over a 1000 watts when well fed.

On that note, has anyone run one of the Stream Engines and what have they found in regards to their efficiencies? Claimed versus real?

I looked at making my own on many occasions and when it came down to it I just could not find similar efficiencies for converting kinetic energy to power. I have a limited amount of water and head so my conversion rates are quite important.
mikef
Solar Supporter
Solar Supporter
 
Posts: 22
Joined: Tue Dec 29, 2009 11:51 am

Re: Micro-hydro systems?

Postby gpigeon » Tue Mar 02, 2010 9:24 am

Considering the "premium" now paid (at least in NSW) for renewable power, via the FIT, has anyone thought of using an efficient 3 ph "grid" powered pump (Mono or multi-stage centrifugal) to pump water uphill and then let it run back down through a mini hydro to feed back into the grid.
In fact, why even pump it up the hill? Just out of the pump into the hydro!
Still better, why even pump water.......just have the motor turning an alternator? :twisted:
If both the motor and alternator are 90% eff. then I get back 80% of what I put in. That is more than compensated for by the "up to 46c/kWh" premium FIT.
Just thought I'd throw this in for debate.
Ethical or not?
Cheers.
Bill W.
gpigeon
Solar Crusader
Solar Crusader
 
Posts: 140
Joined: Sat Sep 26, 2009 6:37 am
Location: NSW (Northern Rivers) - Origin (ex Country Energy)

Next

Return to Other renewable energy

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

new solar power specials