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Very micro hydro - how to

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Ozi

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Does anyone here know how to go about generating power from a stream? We have a stream that runs most of the year, occasional dry times in the summer when it flows underground so animals still get to drink from the remaining pools but no useful flow. This time of year when I'm really low on solar power it's flowing at 100 liters per second. I have several places with over a meter drop so a small wheel could be possible, I don't want to make to much of a weir and stop wildlife moving up stream. Or I could pipe water and run through a small turbine and back to the stream if I didn't draw to much from the flow. All I need is power to charge tool batteries run some low power lighting intermittently and maybe a small fan so 250W plus would be OK 500W and I'd have more than I know what to do with. I want the power about 50m from the stream but if necessary could build a battery charging box and just swap batteries between there and the barn as needed. Budget is even lower than the power requirement it's a small holding not half a county.
 

Cabinetman

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No, but I did see Dick Strawbridge on tv doing it once, the amount of elec from a very small stream was impressive. I seem to remember it was a constant 2 kW and of course you can do it again a little bit further down the hill. Ian
 

Ozi

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No, but I did see Dick Strawbridge on tv doing it once, the amount of elec from a very small stream was impressive. I seem to remember it was a constant 2 kW and of course you can do it again a little bit further down the hill. Ian
That's what I'm hoping, don't need much and I think there are places where 1 kW would be possible IF I knew what I was doing, could spend a lot proving I don't. The electrical side is the bit I want explained all I know about electricary is it runs on smoke, very expensive smoke and doesn't like water - what could go wrong, internet may help
 

Old.bodger

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It’s a lovely idea, but I think you will be up against the laws of physics.
Head will be more important than flow, but you need both. Allowing for low efficiency generation, transmission losses, conversion and battery charging losses. I think you will struggle for mWs….but I would love to be wrong.


Just had a quick ‘Google’ ….quote seems to be about 1 Horse power for 25 amps with a car alternator.
 
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Cabinetman

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That TV programme must be available somewhere – it was really good, and it was done for people like you to copy the methods, I seem to remember that he diverted the flow slightly so that he had a good fall onto the wheel, as was just said fall rather than flow.
 

Myfordman

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Look up Marty T on YouTube. He has a series of video on making his generator together with control systems and storage schemes.
 

Droogs

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You need a decent volume of water and at least a drop of 30' to get adecent speed on the turbine. Watch Kris Harbour and hydro build.

 

doctor Bob

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You would need planning permission, I think.

All new hydroelectric systems require planning permission and an abstraction licence. You will need planning permission to install any domestic or community hydroelectric system, even a small scheme to power a single home. You should contact your local authority at an early stage.

I thought about this but hit brick walls, so will be interesting to see how this pans out.
 

Ozi

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Pelton wheels are excellent but I don't think I have the head to get the pressure / velocity needed. So an over or back shot wheel is looking more practical, plus within my limited building capabilities

quick calculation 100 l/s * 1m * g = 981 W, at 60% efficiency which is about the average I see quoted = 589 W I'm not looking to run a house just lights occasionally and charge batteries for tools and electric fence, 400 W of solar panels do this well in the summer, in the winter I have to lug batteries back and forth and carrying them up and down a 1 in 3 hill looses it's entertainment value pretty quick when it's wet and slippery - I think it's better as a spectator sport. Worth a bit of effort finding out how to do it. Also still get a little help from the solar particularly since I found this angle calculator to make the most of whats available

1642024763550.png
 

D_W

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From the "old" youtube. Nothing expensive or high speed in this one. I remember it when it came out - wasn't easy to find!



he also had a video showing how he made the key bits, but that's no longer up (maybe he started making them for pay).
 

Ozi

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You would need planning permission, I think.

All new hydroelectric systems require planning permission and an abstraction licence. You will need planning permission to install any domestic or community hydroelectric system, even a small scheme to power a single home. You should contact your local authority at an early stage.

I thought about this but hit brick walls, so will be interesting to see how this pans out.
So I see - from the renewables first site


All small hydro and micro hydro systems must have hydro licensing issued by the environmental regulator, which is the Environment Agency (EA) in England and Wales, Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) in Scotland and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) in Northern Ireland.
The process to obtain the licenses is a quite bureaucratic, particularly when dealing with the EA, and takes on average nine months for a typical site.
As well as a licence to use the water for the operation of the hydro system you will also need permission to do ‘work in the river’ while the system is constructed. This includes agreement on how works will be conducted to make sure the riverine environment is protected and also checks that all permanent structures and temporary works (i.e. coffer dams etc.) do not increase flood risk.
Planning permission will be required for any new structures, though generally this is simpler to obtain than the EA consents because hydropower systems are visually relatively unobtrusive. On technical and ecological matters the local authority generally defers to the environmental regulator, so provided your EA / SEPA / NIEA consents are all in order the planning consent should be forthcoming. It can be more complicated if the hydro system is integrated into a historic building, but even then this is normally possible in a sympathetic way which is acceptable to Conservation Officers.

A run of river system is much more likely to get permision as no damming involved so eco effects are less and there is no risk of flooding, I'm hopeful that where we have a small natural fall and I would just be standing a wheel under it there would be no problem but we shall see.
 

Ozi

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From the "old" youtube. Nothing expensive or high speed in this one. I remember it when it came out - wasn't easy to find!



he also had a video showing how he made the key bits, but that's no longer up (maybe he started making them for pay).

Thanks for posting that, he has more water than I get but is generating significantly more than I need from what looks like a fairly inefficient (in terms of extraction not loss) system, more research to do.
 

D_W

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I only recall him because I think he said he had a woodworking business at the time, and it's too long ago to recall why I saw the hydro video. What stuck in my mind, though, is someone said "where did you learn to do that, what book?" and he said "i'm not much of a reader, I only read ___ and the Good Book" (I don't remember the second thing, but it was something like cartoons, etc.

He's a lot like my grandfather, who never read anything, and a functionally illiterate relative of mine who probably and an undiagnosed learning disability, but who could build or weld just about anything and repaired TVs for a living for a while (and could make electronic control apparatus for radio towers).

But I do recall back then that a lot of people (it's the internet) were giving him all kinds of advice about more efficiency and hooking up to the grid and he more or less said "hey, I'm just trying to run two fridges and don't have to run a line back to where they are on my property, so I figure that's pretty good". He also mentioned at the time (it just doesn't seem like this is the same video) that while his setup is massively inefficient, it's basically loose and doesn't clog.

It's a real bummer that the long video showing how to fabricate the innards isn't there. I see now (haven't seen this guy since then and don't usually have a memory as good - especially not these days) that about 6 years later, he posted a maintenance video for the thing still in operation.

As to what others said above, water rights can get pretty sticky here - not so much rights to the water, but diverting water here is an easy way to get in trouble with environmental agencies in the US. How strict the regulatory agencies are depends on who is in office.
 

doctor Bob

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It's a lazy repair in my opinion, but it's a sweet program.

EDIT: Whoops wrong thread.
 
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Cabinetman

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So I see - from the renewables first site


All small hydro and micro hydro systems must have hydro licensing issued by the environmental regulator, which is the Environment Agency (EA) in England and Wales, Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) in Scotland and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) in Northern Ireland.
The process to obtain the licenses is a quite bureaucratic, particularly when dealing with the EA, and takes on average nine months for a typical site.
As well as a licence to use the water for the operation of the hydro system you will also need permission to do ‘work in the river’ while the system is constructed. This includes agreement on how works will be conducted to make sure the riverine environment is protected and also checks that all permanent structures and temporary works (i.e. coffer dams etc.) do not increase flood risk.
Planning permission will be required for any new structures, though generally this is simpler to obtain than the EA consents because hydropower systems are visually relatively unobtrusive. On technical and ecological matters the local authority generally defers to the environmental regulator, so provided your EA / SEPA / NIEA consents are all in order the planning consent should be forthcoming. It can be more complicated if the hydro system is integrated into a historic building, but even then this is normally possible in a sympathetic way which is acceptable to Conservation Officers.

A run of river system is much more likely to get permision as no damming involved so eco effects are less and there is no risk of flooding, I'm hopeful that where we have a small natural fall and I would just be standing a wheel under it there would be no problem but we shall see.
It’s almost as if they’re trying to make it impossible to do. If it was me and I really mean this I would just do it and sod em. It’s not as if you’re stealing the water it’s going straight back in again, and they do have to catch you first! what you are actually doing is borowing a little bit, putting it though a gizmo and returning it. Maybe not even that, you might be just dipping a wheel in the water that flows across your land. Tough. Trouble is nowadays everybody afraid of their own shadow. Ian
 

TRITON

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Does anyone here know how to go about generating power from a stream? We have a stream that runs most of the year, occasional dry times in the summer when it flows underground so animals still get to drink from the remaining pools but no useful flow. This time of year when I'm really low on solar power it's flowing at 100 liters per second. I have several places with over a meter drop so a small wheel could be possible, I don't want to make to much of a weir and stop wildlife moving up stream. Or I could pipe water and run through a small turbine and back to the stream if I didn't draw to much from the flow. All I need is power to charge tool batteries run some low power lighting intermittently and maybe a small fan so 250W plus would be OK 500W and I'd have more than I know what to do with. I want the power about 50m from the stream but if necessary could build a battery charging box and just swap batteries between there and the barn as needed. Budget is even lower than the power requirement it's a small holding not half a county.
This is something ive often wondered as me and a mate used to camp a lot and running streams and rivers nearby I felt could be put to use.
One idea, though this was just for small led lights to light our area was to mount a dynamo front wheel, with the rim adapted so it has paddles or some such thing, on a long axle so it could be mounted beside and in a river or stream, and the wiring led off to a string of low powered lights.
That would only be 6 or 12v, which would be more than enough for leds.
I know you can also get 24v for handcranked versions, but how much power it would put out I dont know,and maybe you'd also need big batteries to store the power.

Your thread reminded me of small hydro power generators and a quick look throws up this.
Im sure wit a bit of study and maybe looking towards some 'off grid' forum setting, such things will have been discussed.
Possibly what youre looking for but maybe prohibitively expensive
 
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Ozi

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It’s almost as if they’re trying to make it impossible to do. If it was me and I really mean this I would just do it and sod em. It’s not as if you’re stealing the water it’s going straight back in again, and they do have to catch you first! what you are actually doing is borowing a little bit, putting it though a gizmo and returning it. Maybe not even that, you might be just dipping a wheel in the water that flows across your land. Tough. Trouble is nowadays everybody afraid of their own shadow. Ian
I see both sides of this, don't like being restricted by excessive regulation. However if I was daft enough we have a bridge over the stream and if I blocked the pipe running under it I would soon have a 3m deep mill pool - lots of power, shortly followed by my bridge and tens of tons of water heading towards a neighbors house. It's probably best if someone keeps an eye on these things, I just hope I can do this without too much bureaucratic pain. the temptation to put in several direct flow 50W units which nobody would see or care about is great but I'm going down the legal route for now, expect intense bitter moaning in the not to distant.
 
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