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Guess the Water Flow!

 
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Care to guess how much water flow this is?  I'll be going on Tuesday with a bucket to get the exact amount.  Closest guess gets 100 cool points.
That culvert is 4' wide.  The bottom lip is flattened so it's not rounded.  
Video of the flow.

We are looking to build a Tiny House resort on this property in Colorado and the electric lines are 1000 ft away.  Sounds great! Or so I thought.  For residential 300 amp service, which is the minimum, they charge $29/foot to run a line in the conduit and the trench that we do or pay for ourselves.  That includes the transformer, but that's not the commercial price.  Seems real steep to me. And my mind started wandering to how much solar that could buy.  Not to mention we still have to pay per Kwh!

This stream runs the property and drops 25-30 feet.  A potential source of power that can reduce our battery bank size requirements drastically.  Not to mention the same river crosses some property we have that is 1000 ft north with 150-175 ft of drop.  So we may be able to generate there and send electric down to this property.


 
steward
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32 gallons per minute
 
gardener
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I’ll guess 50 gpm
 
rocket scientist
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Hi Blake;
I'm not going to guess on how much is flowing.
But I am going to guess, that you can't make enough power from it. Enough to justify the cost.
Now your other property .  That sounds like it has potential.
You need drop and you need volume.  It sounds like you may have it.

The thing about hydro is its not quite as easy to make enough power as a guy thinks.
And if you can make power. Being able to get it to your home can be a problem as well.

Now Solar, if you have enough panels. Can supply all you need .With no mechanical issues.
They can be located close to your battery's.

Big choice you have ahead of you Blake.
40 years ago I went off grid with solar alone. 10 years later I developed a micro hydro as well.
I've never regretted it.
But I will freely admit I might have been $ ahead to let them hook up the street power.


solar-hydro.JPG
[Thumbnail for solar-hydro.JPG]
 
pollinator
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Flow = 30gpm
Height = 25ft to 175
Net Power = .1 * 30gpm * 25ft-175ft
= .1 * 750W-5250W
= 75W-525W

Over a 24hrs
75W*24 to 525*24
1800Wh/day to 12,600Wh/day
 
pollinator
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It is difficult to see the whole flow with the snow in the way.

I'm guessing it might fill a 5 gallon bucket in 5 to 7 seconds.
60 seconds/minute divided by 7 seconds times 5 gallons would be 42.86 gpm.
60 seconds/minute divided by 5 seconds times 5 gallons would be 60.00 gpm
 
Blake Campbell
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Thomas,
Thank you for your input.  I think you were spot on with your analysis.
The hydro on the first property would probably just keeps lights on, etc. at night.  And that's why I mentioned it reducing the battery bank. Might be all it does.  We should have 6 tiny houses and 3x 500-800 sqft cabins eventually. We will start with the tiny houses getting all 6 within a year or two.  
We have 1 and a half tiny houses on wheels already that we have built, and will buy the rest used, most likely.  Our two are wrapped in 1 inch of foam board in addition to the rock wool and fiberglass, and combined with the low square footage they are super efficient.
Solar PV may be our main source. And heating is going to be our main energy requirement.  Looking to set up some awesome systems to capture some heat from the sun, but if needs be we will have lots of panels, and air or ground heat pumps.  We may be able to do water storage of heat, if nothing else than to generate our heat while the sun shines.  We may have a greenhouse.  It all is theoretical so far until we get rolling.

I think your experience going off grid makes a lot of sense for the permie types like us.  It's worth it long before it's the most cost effective.

Thanks for your experience and wisdom.
Blake

thomas rubino wrote:Hi Blake;
I'm not going to guess on how much is flowing.
But I am going to guess, that you can't make enough power from it. Enough to justify the cost.
Now your other property .  That sounds like it has potential.
You need drop and you need volume.  It sounds like you may have it.

The thing about hydro is its not quite as easy to make enough power as a guy thinks.
And if you can make power. Being able to get it to your home can be a problem as well.

Now Solar, if you have enough panels. Can supply all you need .With no mechanical issues.
They can be located close to your battery's.

Big choice you have ahead of you Blake.
40 years ago I went off grid with solar alone. 10 years later I developed a micro hydro as well.
I've never regretted it.
But I will freely admit I might have been $ ahead to let them hook up the street power.


 
pollinator
Posts: 127
Location: North Idaho
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I would guess a "good" 30 gallons per minute would be a very "safe" minimum estimate.  If you were able to stop time and freeze frame the water I would imagine the water in air would fill at least 1 to 1.5 quart jars..  Add in the flow I would guess a "minimum" of half a gallon every 1 second.  I would bet that the flow could actually be 50% more than that estimate.

Just wait until there is more snow runoff....  that amount will go up significantly...  
 
Roy Edward Long
pollinator
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As for creating electricity from water, my last foster parents built a 20 foot deep six acre pond on their farm.  The dam on the open side is nearly forty feet tall in the middle.

The water outlet pipe a 24 inch pipe has a fall of 15 feet with a water column height of 16 feet.  The gallons per minute flow is crazy with a great deal of pressure.  This is just enough to power one household "frugally" and often empties the pond by late summer.  This is with a year round spring flowing 40 to 50 gpm feeding the pond.  My last foster dad allowed his daughters inlaws to move onto the 160 acres farm with them and he regrets agreeing to allow them to use the pond for electric power.  That pond was his pride and joy all full of lake trout and beautiful, now half empty by mid summer every year and nearly no fish left.
 
pollinator
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Blake, I think you need to think deeply about the heating requirements for all those cabins.
I doubt you can do it with renewables.
Also, guests always use more heat than you will, doors open heater full blast.
Maybe you need to think about wood heating and even having the gusts cut their own to an extent. Old engine oil can work very well.
 
thomas rubino
rocket scientist
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Hey Blake;  
John brought up your heating plans and I have to agree with him.  Heating will be the hardest thing you have to accomplish.

I know these are tiny houses, but I also know you can build and fit a small Batch box RMH and plumb them into a vertical bell. The guest would need to be taught how to use one...
Or a less environmentally friendly way might be to build a Remote wood burner (Hassa)  , In its own little building surrounded by mass . Hot air is moved in pipes underground with fans.With this set up You are in charge of the wood fires.

Of course small propane heaters either wall mounted or the camping style that attaches to a bottle, would do the same thing.

Pictures! We like pictures! Please keep us posted (with pictures) as you develop !

 
I brought this back from the farm where they grow the tiny ads:
Harvesting Rainwater for your Homestead in 9 Days or Less by Renee Dang
https://permies.com/wiki/206770/Harvesting-Rainwater-Homestead-Days-Renee
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