Trying to understand micro-hydroelectric power...

2 Posts
Sep 2, 2009 04:03 pm
Trying to understand micro-hydroelectric power...

I understand the concept but I have difficulty understanding some of the things that can happen in real life... For instance,

1) Will "any" river be able to sufficiently power the home?  Its said that 300W is good enough for most home, does that mean 500W is good enough for bigger homes?  And if 500W is needed... how do you know the river can provide that kind of power?

2) What about the new stuff coming out... like tankless water heaters which seem to consume a lot of energy when it is "turned on"... will a micro-hydroelectric power provide that kind of power "instantly"?

3) I understand that most rivers will flood in a 100 year time frame... what happens to the turbine during such event?  Will it be knocked off and flow downstream?  Will it short and create a home hazard?

4) If my "land" only has 60 feet of river frontage, does that mean I can't use any more than that even if the river stretches for hundreds of feet on both streams...

5) Can a lake be used to power it or is it only for rivers? 

6) What if it is a highly used river?  Will kayakers be in danger?  Should I cordon off the area?
462 Posts
Sep 2, 2009 08:06 pm
Re: Trying to understand micro-hydroelectric power...

John, you need either high head pressure or high volume of water. In order to get a high head pressure, a pipe is usually installed upstream and run along the river. The head pressure would be determined by the drop in elevation of the pipe. Using high volume, a large diameter pipe is installed upstream and smaller diameter pipes are installed to gain velocity thus increasing pressure. The hydro unit can be installed anywhere that you can run the pipe. The discharge is then sent back to the river using an appropriate sized drain.
 The amount of power from the unit is determined by the flow and pressure and you should be able to find charts that show this here at this site under the micro hydro section or from the manufactures site.
578 Posts
Sep 3, 2009 02:11 pm
Re: Trying to understand micro-hydroelectric power...

here is a link, to what we have here for info,

good luck,

altE staff

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