Hi all, great to find this forum. I recently bought my first property, and I have a creek on it. I think it may not be flowing enough for hydro, but I want to make sure. There is very little head, maybe a few feet if that.
The discharge flow is minimum 50 cfs (cu ft/s). but regularly hits 100cfs. However it is flood prone and during a big storm recently it hit over a thousand I think.
For small systems, you need some sort of drop/head and I've seen some little DIY setups where they created a nearly vertical run from the highest point on their property and ran that 100+ feet to a point where they have 3 or 4 feet of drop below the pipe, and then used that drop to power some little wheel that fed the water right back into the creek. In most places you have to be very careful about any sort of water diversion, even if it goes right back into the same stream, and even if it's all on your property. The power output depends on the water flow and drop.
Cute creek. The short answer is no there’s very little energy available from that stream. There’s lots of energy just no easy way to capture it. Do you have a feeder tributary coming down the hill into the stream? If so it may work for a high head low flow microhydro system. Perhaps only seasonally but solar can take over in the summer. There’s bunches of videos showing how ridiculously little power builders got from waterwheels. There are some low head high flow vortex turbines that produce lots of power but not easy to build.
Based on just the stream banks. It would be easy for you to get a 3ft head.
Flow = 50cubic feet per second = 22,441 gallons per minutes
Head = 3ft
Net Power = 1/10 x Flow x Head Net Power = 1/10 x 22,441gpm x 3ft
Net Power = 2,244 x 3
Net Power = 6,732W every hour (If we disregard system losses the theoretically Power is actually twice what is listed above)
There are 24hrs in each day
Daily Production = Net Power x 24hrs Daily Production = 6.7KW x 24hr
Daily Production = 161.6KWH per day (If we use the high flow rate of 100cf/s vs the min of 50cf/s, we would actually double production) (An avg USA house only uses 1/5 of that aka 33KWH/day or 1,000KWH/month), so even with a smaller head you would still be fine
Next would be to price out this system build:
Battery Bank Inverter
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