practical hydroelectric power?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by inc, Dec 28, 2004.

  1. inc

    inc Well-Known Member

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    near a swift small stream here- which comes down a slope-is there any practical hydroelectric generators out htere? anything that can be adapted? nothing expensive or fancy- probably something that would generate a trickle charge to a battery might be nice.
    or is it a waste of time?
     
  2. Oregonsparkie

    Oregonsparkie Well-Known Member

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    A hydro-electric generator could be as simple as a paddle wheel turning a high capacity automobile alternator but the big question is whether you can put one on a stream without state/federal permission. Here in Oregon most streams are regualted to protect salmon and steelhead. I heard of a small horizonal turbine(small psyical size) made for streams.

    I recommend getting the magizine "Home Power Magizine" there are many wind/PV/hydro manufactures around... Find one in your area, they should be able to tell you about any restrictions
     

  3. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    You might start at www.backwoodssolar.com

    They have some nice microhydro info and equipment. Definitely worth reading about.
     
  4. edjewcollins

    edjewcollins Well-Known Member

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    www.otherpower.com has a project showing exactly what your talking about in great detail.

    Ed
     
  5. FrankTheTank

    FrankTheTank Well-Known Member

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    its only illegal if you get caught(thats what a cop told me)...

    I would think you could rig something up. Nice thing about hydro is that its always on(usually) so even a little will really add up over time.
     
  6. daycab

    daycab Well-Known Member

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    Based on the amount of fall (head) and the amount of flow, you can determine the potential output of your stream. Try this link and go to microhydro calculator. Good Luck!


    http://www.energyalternatives.ca/content/Categories/MicroHydroInfo.asp
     
  7. mikell

    mikell Well-Known Member

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    Try thinking boat parts------ a pair of pontoons made of 6" pvc with a paddle wheel turning a automotive generator. A few batteries for a storage buffer and your in.


    mikell
     
  8. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

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    Check the ads here.Download their most recent issue,plus check the archives there.
    www.homepower.com
    BooBoo
     
  9. caballoviejo

    caballoviejo Well-Known Member

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    A problem I could'nt get around with stream hydro was variable flow. You have to size your equipment for some average flow and then hope it doesn't get destroyed or washed away with the first big rainfall. I would think the best way to tap a stream would be like with the old water mills, shunting off a set amount from a stream that is more reliable but less brutal than using the stream directly. Most stuff I found that would last and didn't need frequent maintenance was costly and uneconomical.
     
  10. inc

    inc Well-Known Member

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    "but the big question is whether you can put one on a stream without state/federal permission."

    thats always the big question! i dont need the power now- but if i even end up on my own, and in a similar terrain, i would like to look into it.

    "A problem I could'nt get around with stream hydro was variable flow"

    very true here. it would have to be taken off the main flow in a pipe and then returned cleanly. also it would have to be small and inobtrusive.
    i have cleaned up the trash on the property- several times i have found plastic pipes set in water to catch such flows, probably for some hunting cabin of 20-30 years ago.

    i live on someone else's property so i really cannot- but they are still talking about moving, somewhere else,somewhere 'easier' to live, and when they do im leaveingthem- i will live alone. im not going back to any big city. i dont feel safe anymore and i dont want to live around other people ever again. i will see what the local resources are to stay in this area.
    i like this forum, its about how to take care of yourself in minimal civilization.
     
  11. punkrockpilot

    punkrockpilot Well-Known Member

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  12. BobBoyce

    BobBoyce Well-Known Member

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    Hey inc, what part of NC are you in? I'm on the TN/NC border just N of the GA line. We have a creek on our property here and was thinking about adding some microhydro power to our PV solar.

    Bob
     
  13. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    I've looking into hydropower from time to time to see what is new. My observation the only really practical method is to pipe down water from a high source and run it through a propeller turbine (essentially somewhat like shooting a hose at a outboard motor propeller and making it spin). I believe they are called something like Penton Wheels, but it is early.
     
  14. Paul Wheaton

    Paul Wheaton Well-Known Member

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    I don't have enough flow for the propeller thing. And my flow is seasonal. Anybody know of a site with a lot of selection for generators?

    Another thing to consider is "net metering": You use the grid as your batteries. Here in Washington state, your power company is required to do this. So if I generate 20,000 kwh over the winter and spring and then use 21,000 kwh, my electricity bill is zero. If I use 19,000 kwh, I pay for just 1,000 kwh.

    Some states say that the power company will buy power from you at the same rate they are buying power from others. Usually half of what they charge you for it.
     
  15. Paul Wheaton

    Paul Wheaton Well-Known Member

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    I found a site with generators: microhydro generator. But I'm not getting information on how many watts it generates. I have about 1000 feet of run, 40 feet of head and (I'm guessing) 50gpm.

    Our current electricity usage is about 25,000kwh per year. I would guess that we could have this kind of flow eight months out of the year. So I need about 3000 watts per hour. That sounds like a lot.
     
  16. Paul Wheaton

    Paul Wheaton Well-Known Member

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    I did the math wrong. I would need about 5000 watts per hour.
     
  17. BobBoyce

    BobBoyce Well-Known Member

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    I looked into grid intertie back when I set up my PV solar. They don't have the net metering laws in place here where I live. I keep checking to see if they ever pass the proposed net metering laws, but it's been stuck in the feedback and hearing stages for a decade or so.

    Our electric co-op is in another state where they are required to buy any excess power produced, but that doesn't apply here. There, the utilities are only required to pay wholesale, while they charge retail.

    On top of that, they make you set up a seperate meter for selling power back to the utility. It requires a huge investment of time and money to jump through all of their regulation hoops. I think they do this intentionally to discourage alternative energy.

    Myself, I would love to add microhydro to supplement my PV solar. Whatever I do would have to be homebrew all the way. I am on fixed income, so I can't afford to go out and buy a ready-made setup.

    Thank goodness I bought all of my current PV panels and batteries back before I became disabled. I surely couldn't afford to buy them now. I still have PV panels in storage, but at the current price of metal, I lack the funds required to build another PV panel array mount.

    Bob
     
  18. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    My understanding is the principal reason power companies do not support buying power from the individual producer is the additional effort to work on a line. With only once source of supply they can simply cut off a section. If there are a number of independents hooked into it, then they also have to turn off each one of them.

    Ken Scharabok
     
  19. Unregistered

    Unregistered Well-Known Member

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    Even the large hydro plants do not sell all the electricity they can supply. There is a lot of rivers , lakes, and even streams that can produce electricity. The slant axis river flow units could be put in place when dams are built or even in rivers without dams.
    Power companies do not purchase as much power from hydro plants as they would have to lower their prices. Many plants only run at peak hours or dump power. There are many small plants who supply hospitals, plants, and business. The price the power companies pay will not pay for the fuel used to produce the power. Individuals have very little chance to sell power.
     
  20. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    Backwoods solar has a chart that will give you an idea of the amt of power the pelton wheels will generate. It depends on flow rate and head, so you will need to know that.