Micro Hydro Turbines
Micro Hydro Turbines or generators are a group of green power producing devices using Renewable Energy, as defined by Wikipedia they typically produce up to 100kw of Electricity see definition Micro Hydro Turbines, for a site to be viable for most Micro Hydro it must have the following:
1. Constant water flow upwards of 5 litres per second
2. Head Height (point at which water enters piping above actual turbine) of about 15 metres or more, lower head models now available.
Other critical parameters are pipe length and internal diameter, the larger the pipe the less internal friction lost against the walls.
Generally a head stock or dam needs to constructed at the entry point for the pipe as a collection point for the water to enter the pipe, some form of self-cleaning mesh across the pipe entry will stop debris from entering the pipe which could block the turbine jets.
The pipe does not have to follow the natural path of the creek and can come in land as long as it gets back to the creek at the site of the turbine, the water in essence is borrowed from the creek for a short time and returned lower downstream.
The most common types of turbine simple extract the energy from the water which with gravity has built up enough force to shoot through a series of jets and spin a wheel, the most common small scale turbines use a wheel known as a Pelton Wheel which is a very efficient design.
The wheel is attached to a Generator and when spun generates electricity this energy can be used in lots of different voltage configurations and used to charge batteries or as mentioned earlier connect direct to Grid via a Grid Connected Inverter.
Off Grid Installation
The Hydro Turbine is ideally suited to off grid installations most or if not all of us would love to have a property with running water thru it, why not turn this natural resource into Free Energy, by powering your home either direct or by storing the energy into Batteries.
For those in an Off Grid or Stand alone Power Supply (SPS) environment with intermittent water flow may also consider using a turbine in a hybrid System that employs both Solar Panels and a hydro unit.
How to calculate if my site is Viable for Hydro
There are several sites on line that have calculators to determine how much energy you can subtract from your water resource.
The best by far is the Power Spout site as it has the most comprehensive and easy to use Calculator that we have found.
In order to get the most out of it you will need to have an understanding of your site ie: how much water flows down my water way?
How high is it from where I can collect the water to the point where it returns?
Or in other words head height.
Click here for the Powerspout Website
More detailed and fully comprehensive Calculator also available which will also advise on cable parameterís and pipe loses etc.
Click here to use the Calculator
The Power Spout unit once the power has been extracted from the water simply returns the water to the water way as it exits the bottom of the unit, thereby not damaging the natural flow.
The Power Spouts other claim to fame is its construction, in that it is constructed from 68% recycled materials and the plant that it is produced in is run on renewable energy.