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108: All About Hydro Power Generators

Learn more about power generation, micro hydro and water heater element. Get fiction entertainment and amazing survival facts with Sara F. Hathaway’s podcast.

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108: All About Hydro Power Generators

  1. 1. By: Ken Jensen
  2. 2.  Micro-hydro is one of the most efficient forms of electrical power generation.  Lowest Cost per Watt of any other power generation.  It is fairly easy to predict what your output would be year round, which can result in smaller battery sizes.
  3. 3. Water is used and directed into blades called a turbine. The turbine spins and is connected to a shaft which spins a motor, sometimes direct coupled and sometimes using belts for converting low speed high torque inputs to high speed low torque outputs to the motor.
  4. 4. The generator, if bought is usually a DC alternator generator. This is just an AC generator with a one way switch on each phase. If built, the generator is usually AC, but then sent to a rectifier to convert it to DC. The DC is then usable by an inverter/charger which decides to either convert the DC to AC to be used, or to dump it to a battery bank for storage. This same device can convert the stored capacity to AC to be used when generation is down.
  5. 5. There are other ways to use a basic charge controller and consumer grade inverter as well. It would be a little cheaper if you knew what to look for, but it can be a little more complex.
  6. 6. Probably the best build would not be what you would call “easy.” One of the best builds would be a large waterwheel with a gear-ratio change driven by belts or handmade gears. The awesome thing about waterwheels is that you can couple them up to an alternator or even a mill for grinding grain.
  7. 7. The very first thing I would do it to make my home more efficient first.  Water flow  spring, river, waterfall  Is it year round or seasonal  How far am I from the source?
  8. 8.  For High flow applications I may go with a permanent magnet alternator  For low flow applications I may go with a basic automobile alternator, requires less break over force Impulse  Typically for micro-hydro because it is easier to work on  Can deal with sand and debris better
  9. 9. Pelton  Designed for efficiency (165 degree angle into buckets, any more will have deflected water interference)  It is usually for higher head applications “above 20m” for micro-applications
  10. 10. Turgo  These turbines are much more difficult to make  Run much faster, which allows direct coupling (efficiency)  Works in a wide range of speeds
  11. 11. Gatta  This is a good one for hand building and is very easy to maintain.  Has a low power output  A waterwheel with a vertical axis that came out of Napal.
  12. 12. Cross flow  Squirrel Cage design, like a hamster wheel with blades  Resembles the waterwheel with curved blades
  13. 13. Centrifugal Pumps (reverse pump turbines)  Run water backward through them and they can be found anywhere.  They have poor part-flow efficiency, and poor performance  Others would be the Francis Turbine, Propeller Turbine
  14. 14. Connect with Us!