If you have a source of free running water, then you are blessed with a renewable energy project’s dream power source. Micro Hydro is one of the most cost effective sources of electrical energy.
Micro Hydro power was once the world’s prominent source of mechanical power for manufacturing. Micro hydro is making a comeback for electricity generation in homes.
Micro hydro, or small-scale hydro, is one of the most environmentally benign energy conversion options available, because unlike large-scale hydro power, it does not attempt to interfere significantly with river flows.
We offer a variety of small hydroelectric generators that are designed to be 12, 24, or 48 volt battery chargers, operating off a relatively small volume of water. They charge batteries 24 hours per day. As little as a 10 foot head of water can supply a steady charge to a battery bank. A small hydroelectric system is an excellent match with solar modules, both charging the same batteries. When it’s rainy and the solar modules are performing at their low point, the hydroelectric system will be at its peak, and vise versa.
How much power can you generate?
That depends on the dynamic head, the amount of water flow and the efficiency of the turbine/generator combination. To get an idea about available power in watts, multiply the head in feet, times flow in GPM, times 0.18 times efficiency. Turbine efficiency ranges from 25% to 50%, use 0.30 as an average for efficiency.
If you think you have a suitable site for Micro Hydro power, we can help you determine the best unit for the situation.
This is an example of a 12 volt , 60 amp micro hydro system. The compact unit produces power as long as the water flows. The unit shown is operating with approximately 90 feet of vertical hydraulic head (40 PSI) and the tail stock water exits are clearly visible. This unit is working with two inlets being powered and some units can be operated with four jets at very low hydraulic head. One unit has recently been installed with under 10 feet of head. The system is easy to install with minimum working knowledge of PVC piping and basic DC wiring techniques. It runs 24 hours a day, quietly sending power to whatever electrical needs you may have – usually charging batteries to power AC inverters.
A few words about the “stream engine”. The micro hydro permanent magnet alternator and housing are manufactured in Canada by Energy Systems and Design. As the only moving parts of this alternator are the three sealed ball bearings, the life expectancy of this unit is far greater than that of the conventional brush type alternators used in the past. The machine is equipped with a turgo turbine wheel with rugged bronze construction. This design allows the use of high flows at low heads.
Output up to I kW and higher is possible in battery based power systems.
Power is generated at a steady rate and stored in a battery bank. This enables the power to be used at rates much higher than at which it is generated. During times of low demand the power is stored. An inverter is used in systems when AC power is desired. The engine is located at the end of the pipeline near the stream and flows can be a few gallons per minute (gpm) or as high as hundreds of gpm. The water passes through a nozzle that increases its velocity as it exits, and then it strikes the turbine runner, which is connected to the generator shaft. Nozzle inserts from a half inch to 1 inch diameter can be used, and up to four nozzles can be installed in one machine. Micro hydro systems have come a long way as a cost-effective way to create electrical energy for remote living.
Here’s a “stream engine” installation (below right) that replaced the older water powered generator (below left). The smaller and more efficient “Stream Engine” has been humming away flawlessly for a couple of years and never misses a beat.