My micro hydro

Solar, wind, hydro and other non-fossil sources of electricity.
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craneplaneguy
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My micro hydro

Post by craneplaneguy » Nov 08, 2016 10:42 pm

hydro 001.jpg
The power shack, an old railroad signal box. The debris in the bottom is just broken up chimney tile I used for deadweight, the beer cans picked up from the road on the walk down.
hydro 002.jpg
The turbine, with it's 4" pelton wheel, and a rain cover. The coffee can covers up the pressure gauge.
800+ plus watts into the grid, max, and down to 250 as the water diminishes come fall. Late December it's shut down, start up is mid April. The 1200' of 3" HDPE was fusion welded, and simply laid out down the real rocky slope, burying it would have been a nightmare plus caused lots of sediment to flow into the creek.

The pelton wheel is a Harris Hydro 24 VDC unit, permanent magnet/no brushes, but I do replace the bearings every few years (15 bucks). The inverter is a Outback battery based grid tie unit, and I have the smallest battery bank I can get away with. Once the battery is at float (all the time), any further power coming in is converted to AC and linked to the grid. It's a 2500 watt inverter, so over the years I've added some oddball solar panels I picked up here and there, and they also get converted into grid worthy power. On a sunny cool day, with the hydro still running, I see as much as 1500 watts into the grid, with of course the hydro being 24/7 and the PV variable.

The intake screen is by Hydroscreen.com, it's stainless, and is engineered to let leaves etc float by while, due to it's shape of the narrow bars that make up the screen, actually sucks the water in. The Hydroscreen chief engineer and company owner is named, and I'm not making this up, Robert WEIR, how appropriate
hydro 007.jpg
During late fall, I capture both culverts, most of the year just the one is adequate, it's all the same water.
. Like a friend I had who was a geology professor, Dr. Ore was his name!

The top end of my 40 acres (with a 147' of fall, or elevation change) has a county owned culvert, my collection box is immediately below the culvert for maximum head, pressure at the turbine is about 75 PSI. Every drop of water I take out, goes back into the creek, important as I do NOT have water rights, just "power production rights", two different things. The farmer below who has the water rights, continues to water his crops as usual, no skin off his nose. Falling water is a great source of energy production, but with falling PV prices if I had to choose between the two, it'd be PV. Hard to beat NO maintenance, ever. But I don't have to choose, having both is great, and the hydro produces about 35% of my annual electrical needs, maybe more.

Jestronix
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Re: My micro hydro

Post by Jestronix » Dec 18, 2016 1:07 am

Man that's a cool little setup, I wanted setup one on my folks property, but the cable run to the wheel was far too long. A small setup like this soon adds up in kWh , day in day out while solar sleeps at night. There would be so many locations areound the country that are untapped.

Harold in CR
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Re: My micro hydro

Post by Harold in CR » Dec 19, 2016 8:23 am

Really glad you posted your micro hydro system. I have a similar project started. I hand dug a 30,000 gallon pond and have the vinyl liner waiting for me in Florida. I have a 100-120' elevation change, depending on where I place the turbine.

My difference is, the spring fed creek is at the bottom of the elevation, so, almost useless. I replaced the galv roofing on the house this year and want to put up gutters to collect all the rain we get, and pipe it downhill into the pond I dug. I calculated I can get 300 watts of power for 10 hours if I drain down the pond from full, which will take 7" of rain at a time, if I catch all the rain from guttering the house and the workshop. Also, I can lay heavy plastic sheeting among the trees and catch a lot more rain without hurting the trees.

Problem I have is separating the leaves and twigs from the collection pond. HOWEVER, I believe you have provided the cure for my problem. I can get a 350 gallon plastic "tote" and dig it in the ground right below the outflow pipes from the pond, and, use a piece of that screening you used, to filter off all the leaves and stuff that will come out of the pond. Everything from the foot of the pond is downhill, so, I won't lose but 3' of head by doing this, and, I can easily clean up the trash from the screen with a rake every few days or whatever.

Also, I have pontoons from an old gold dredge that I have built 2 motorcycle wheel waterwheels using 4" PVC pipe sections capped off, and, I bought an old piston shallow well water pump, that once I finish rebuilding, I will put down in the creek and have that running 24/7/365, pumping water up to the pond.

Yes, there is a lot of expense in piping and wiring, but, it will alleviate the power surges, burning up of computers, tv's and fridges, courtesy of the local power co. I currently have most of the house running LED lighting and the computer and tv is battery fed. Just have to use the UPS to keep the batteries charged, but, not for much longer.

Feb I'm off the Florida to buy another Chevy Volt Battery and ship most of it and the vinyl liner down, so, maybe by June, I will be well along in this project.

Thanks for posting your system and hope I didn't hijack you too badly. :oops:
Thanks to Justin, the forum is open source and NON-commercialized.

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teslanv
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Re: My micro hydro

Post by teslanv » Dec 19, 2016 8:34 am

Love stuff like this.
Thanks for sharing.
I build custom ebikes.
http://www.westcoastelectrics.com
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craneplaneguy
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Re: My micro hydro

Post by craneplaneguy » Dec 19, 2016 11:03 am

That sounds really cool Harold! Pumped storage for micro hydro is something I gave a lot of thought to, it makes perfect sense when you have a way to pump free. For those that don't know, the Panama Canal has used pumped storage for running their lock gates since it's inception. As to the initial expenses involved in setting up your operation, just suck it up and make the commitment and then forget about it! Seriously, the satisfaction, and at some point way down the road, actual payback, is worth it many times over. About 10 years ago I realized that since I have been doing "this" so long (off grid and then grid tied but still producing more then 100% of the needed power) I could be a bit more obnoxious about bragging up how it all works. Do "it" long enough, and it all makes perfect sense, and the nay sayers fall by the wayside, while of course still paying large monthly utility bills! Be sure to post again when you get it up and running.

Harold in CR
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Re: My micro hydro

Post by Harold in CR » Dec 19, 2016 12:29 pm

Thanks for the comments. Down here we pay equivalent of 24 cents per Kwh. !! My least bill is $46.00 for 230 +/- Kwh /month. It's real easy to get a bill for $100.00 or more, and still suffer these dips and surges from their poorly run system.

I happen to have extensive experience with electricity, and when I get the engineers out here to raise hell with them, there are dumbfounded that I know what the problems are with their system. BUT, it doesn't help any, sooo, i'm off to make my own.

And thanks for allowing me to share my stuff in your thread. Maybe others will learn from what we do.
Thanks to Justin, the forum is open source and NON-commercialized.

craneplaneguy
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Location: S.E. Idaho USA

Re: My micro hydro

Post by craneplaneguy » Dec 19, 2016 1:15 pm

I just now noticed your location. FWIW: its 16 degrees F here right now and, and the winds blowing 26 mph with gusts to 30! But....Idaho Power is charging a bit less then 8 cents per KW, so that helps.

Harold in CR
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Re: My micro hydro

Post by Harold in CR » Dec 19, 2016 3:10 pm

Yeah, it's only 74 F here. :roll: and probably 30 MPH wind +. Need to get my wind turbines up and generating. Need to build one part and then the tower and concrete.
Thanks to Justin, the forum is open source and NON-commercialized.

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