Micro Hydro Basics and Case Study

Tool Concept


Small scale hydropower is an inexpensive and relatively simple way to produce reliable energy. Here are some resources and case studies as an introduction to DIY hydro.
Documentation Wiki: 

Micro Hydro Basics

Functional Description/approach

Flowing water from a spring or stream can be captured and used to turn a generator to create electricity. In a high head (>10ft) situation, the water should be captured in a pipe (penstock) which will build pressure at the generator. Here is a commercial unit: stream engine In a low head (2-10ft) situation, the water can be channeled into an open, level sluice which will feed the impeller/generator. Here is a commercial unit: low head stream engine In an open river (no head, but moving water), a floating boat with a paddle wheel can be used.Boat Mills

There are lots of resources online, here are a few links to get started:DIY Hydro Projects on Build it SolarStream Engine resource pageRocky Hydro getting startedEnergy Alternatives Micro Hydro

How to use the tool

Step 1: Site Survey Measure Head in feet (elevation drop from highest to lowest point) Measure Flow rate in gallons per minute (capture all of the water in a 5 gal bucket and measure time to fill bucket) Electrical power generation in Watts= Head (ft) x Flow (gpm) / 10 Here is a free excel-based calculator Hydro calculator And another for Windows only Hydro calculator

Step 2: Build-out

this would be the equivalent of an owners manual, pictures and video are excellent in this section. If the tool has many functions, then these should all be explored here.

Bill of materials and Sourcing

Most of the investment is in the infrastructure (site work, intake structure, pipe, power house, etc). For the water wheel, generator and electrical components, there are a few commercially available, and also look on ebay. [Energy Systems}(http://www.microhydropower.com/our-products/)Rocky HydroMotenergyHartvigsen Hydro

To build your own from parts: Water wheel (pelton or turgo for piped system, or overshot or undershot wheel in an open system) Generator (this can be any permanent magnet DC motor, or a PMA permanent magnet alternator) Blocking diode (so electricity doesn't flow back making the generator a motor) Fuse (can be simple auto style) Charge controller for battery systems (here's a DIY one 555 based charge controller or a grid tie inverter for a grid tied system

this section should include a list of materials, and dimensions and sources for each item when available)

Construction/how to build

this section should include basic step by step instructions and include supporting documentation like engineering drawings, CAD or CAM files, as well as supporting photos and videos. If an instructables has already been done on it, a link to the instructable would be perfect here) Next steps/goals/barriers

This section is to highlight what next steps are needed for documentation or construction to move the project along. This might contain a link to a kickstarter campaign or to a forum discussion of documentation or prototype needs etc. Marketplace

this section might link to fabricators of the tool or tool components who are members of the farm hack community. If a fabricator has the item listed on Etsy or similar, a link to that listing would be appropriate here too Ongoing projects

this section might link to project threads on the forum - if you are going to build the tool, please start a project thread in the forum, and post lots of pictures!

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