Travis in a way the battery is the hydro dam. Instantaneous demand is met by the panels during the day and any large loads are covered by the battery. Hydro is not instantaneous. You can turn it on and off but there is a lag there and micro hydro is usually low wattage continuous power. If its a large dam there is a longer lag and losses to transmission. My version of dump loads are not really dumps they are more alternative methods of storage. Cheers, David
Travis Johnson wrote:I think depending upon the situation, they could be one and the same.
I am thinking of a crane that lifts heavy objects like blocks of granite or concrete. It is in a stored situation, but in an instant, those blocks can be attached to, then dropped, the falling weight powering a generator to produce electricity.
Stored energy...but instant as well.
Water behind a dam is stored energy but instant.
The key thing about electricity is, a person needs both long-term power, like that of a boiler which kicks out ample power 24/7 pretty much, but also instant power so that if there are spikes in consumption, that stored energy can be converted into instant power. This is why hydro dams are critical to the power grid, open a valve and instantly power is pumped onto the grid during peak demands, but all day, every day boilers and their turbines kick out power for the grid.
In an ideal situation, the homestead would have a solar array for trickle charging the battery bank for constant electrical demands, but then a hydro set up for peak times. In this way neither system would have to be big, and the stream itself would not have to be big; heck a pond fed by a spring might work because a homestead might only open the penstock for a few hours for those peak times. All that could be automated...a timer opens the penstock which starts the turbine spinning, then a minute later the refrigerator comes on also via timer. In other words the hydro power is tied to the high demands of the refrigerator. This to me makes far more sense then putting in a dump load circuit...why produce power only to dump it into the atmosphere as wasted heat?
What you see instead is people dedicated to a single system, then scaling it up to meet their biggest electrical demand. That is one way to do it yes, but I am not sure that it is the best way. But as with most things in life; the best way to do them, is often the most difficult, and the more expensive way.
Nice and simple. I think a peltier wheel and a permanent magnet alternator is pretty simple and hard to beat. Its the required drop that is getting hard to find. I do not know about maine but if you try to dam so much as a creek you are in some big time hot water. So you are limited to sluiceways in free flowing streams so again getting hard to find. It is still the gold standard of off grid though.
Travis Johnson wrote:No, I understand that. My pet peeves is when people bolt heaters onto trees so that excess power gets displaced through those sort of things. To me that is just a waste.
As for do it yourself micro-hydro situations, I always thought this turbine design was really simple. The longer the stem, the more torque you would get out of it, along with how wide the exit tubes were. It would be easy to couple bearings to this guy, as well as weld it up yourself. Weld on a pulley, and belt it up to a generator...
You could easily make the thing 10 feet high and get some pressure out of the water...or 20 feet or 30 feet...and there is no massive dam to make, you just have to channel water into the internal column. I realize it is not super efficient in prop design, but I would think the design is so easy to make that it would not really matter. That is, less efficient, but easy to make would be better than a super efficient turbine, and too complicated to make yourself.
Yup those are some of the reasons the energy has gone out of small hydro; regulation and placement. In the three years I've worked for and now consult for a local alt energy company one small scale hydro has gone in. the compliance requirements were underway for 18 months before I got there and went on for the first year of my work there. All for a stream that already had a dam on it for 75 years... Its a beautiful setup though. Your creek looks ideal, high voltage 3 phase setups can cover a lot of ground but yeah if its too far away them's the breaks... It does burn me though that coal plants nukes, gas get a pass because they are far away but block a tiny reserve of water like thousands of fallen trees do or countless beavers and its a non starter.
Travis Johnson wrote:I have got a spot on my land that has a stream, and a pretty big drop...I am guessing 40-50 feet of vertical head, but it is in the middle of nowhere. A remote camping spot, or perhaps a small cabin might be built there, but that would be about all that could go there. It has no real view, so no place to put a house, and then to try and bring a powerline back from that spot would be prohibitive. No good...
I have a few places I could put up a dam and it would be grandfathered because my family dammed the stream generations ago, but nowadays it all depends on who runs across it, and then they rat you out. Most times it is the people you never suspected too that call the authorities. Still, none of the places would ever be where I would put a house. :-(
Here is a picture of that stream area. It looks flat in the picture, but it is actually a pretty decent ravine. I am cutting wood out of there now and it is all I can do to pull wood up out of there with my skidder. (I am trying to get the White Ash out before the Emerald Ash Borer arrives...
have you looked at charcoal gasification? For someone used to cutting and burning wood it's a viable solution. Of course there are a dozen solutions and never enough time🤣
Travis Johnson wrote:I hear you...
That location is actually pretty good. In Maine I can build a pond 1/4 acre in size with no permits, so I could put in a small pond, then put in a dam and run a pipe down to a Barkers Turbine and produce power all legally, and pretty cost effectively, but as I said, it is so far away that it does not do me any good.
All my streams are like that. I have a few on me, but all of them are located so far away from the house. Literally all of them are located on the edge of my property so I am talking (2) being at one mile away, and the last being one mile away, all of which is no good to me. :-(
But as I said, heating my home is more of a concern for me, so I have pretty much looked at that. These included such things as compost heat, solar, sunflowers and corn, etc, but we have so much wood here, that while other options exist, the reality is, I have the equipment to log, so I can cut wood faster and easier than I can do the alternatives. For instance compost heat. Without question I can make compost heat warm my home, BUT by the time I gather the compost, then form the pile, in much less time I can cut firewood and heat my house all winter. So it is not that compost heat would not work, it just does not make sense for ME too...other people might be different.
I would not reduce it to charcoal in your case I would torrify it removing all the loose water and the bonded water but leaving the volatiles. A closed retort works well for that. incomplete conversion to charcoal is the bane of my charcoal making but that is for engines. In the case of a heating application that would be a benefit.
Travis Johnson wrote:Yes and no...
Last year I tried making charcoal the semi-old fashioned way, except I used a bulldozer to cover the burning wood. It was an utter failure. Either the wood completely burned up to ash, or it barely charred the wood.
I liked the idea of using charcoal because I use a pot bellied stove to heat my house. That means small wood, or buying coal. I thought maybe if I reduced the wood to charcoal it would be a good compromise: free coal so to speak.