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Use of irrigation water for energy in a steep place?  RSS feed

 
Xisca Nicolas
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Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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Hi Scott, thanks for being here!
I've had a question since I arrived at my place 2 years ago...
Can I use my irrigation water for energy with a small and cheap device?
What I mean by "cheap" is that I want to estimate the cost compared to the benefit.

There are 2 "movements" of water, when I fill my tank all at once and when I irrigate with gravity.
I receive water every 20 days, except in winter (rain).
The repartition place is at a 10mns walk uphill. This is steep.
That's 100m3 going down in a 2" pipe in about 8 hours.
I would not take a shower under it!

It is so powerful, but I guess there is no way to use this power because it is too short in time.
As you are the specialist and not me, I ask you about any idea that could be done with this water arrival?
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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Then, gravity irrigation, which will make it a lot more possible I think.
The pipe coming out of the tank is only 2" wide.
Then
Sorry, you sure know how difficult it is to estimate a vertical length!
Anyway, I have to water down the valley, and that is easily 20m downwards = 60'.

At the moment, I have even tried to cut down the pressure by lengthening the path of the pipes and putting T and L for direction changes.
the main pipe is 2" and then some are 1" of course before the dripping pipes.

My banana plants are at the foot of a little cliff that gives them heat.
I would organize something like a 10m / 30' vertical pipe down-cliff if I knew it was worth thinking about it!

- what is the vertical length needed for something worth installing it?
- How long do I need to leave it working so that it is worthwhile?
- I would prefer another topic to speak about keeping electricity, not here... but here I would like to have a basic idea such as "can I have the washing machine functioning while I am watering?"

So I guess that there are 2 points:
- What strength, what pressure, so what hight and what flow for how long... do I need it to produce some usable energy?
- How much water will be used for this?
... because I cannot just let the water go, plants need it at the right time.
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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I have found some great information, and so let's put it so that it is possible to go ahead better into the topic...
I have to translate into metrics haha!

400 watts is with a battery....
And I do not know how to calculate the quantity per minute!
(liters or gallons I do not mind!)
But how much is going out of a 2" plastic pipe?
Two inches is what I have coming out of my reservoir.
Will it go out faster if the reservoir is almost empty or full (with the water weight)?

"Recall that 400 watts will power a house. To generate that we'd need approximately: 100 gallons a minute falling 50 feet. Or 50 gallons a minute falling 100 feet. Or 25 gallons falling 200 feet. Or 16 gallons—a mere quart each second!—falling 310 feet.

The implication is clear. A rill, tiny brook, step-across creek, mountain spring, irrigation ditch—with enough head behind it, a trickle of water from any of these can produce a torrent of power.

As head drops below 50 feet, power production diminishes and the economics of small hydro systems become increasingly tenuous. Nonetheless, if you've got a small pond a mere 25 feet above from which you can divert 100 gallons a minute, you can still generate 200 watts. Combine that with efficient lightbulbs and appliances, and you've got energy independence."

Read more: http://www.motherearthnews.com/renewable-energy/small-scale-hydropower-zmaz94amzraw.aspx?page=5#ixzz2NzgzE4wf

I am not good at understanding things with numbers, that is why my questions are so basic and I cannot understand the numbers meanings in this article...
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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I can measure the vertical distance more or less... (any good method?)
Or is there a way of measuring directly the pressure of water coming out?

And here is the important question for using pipes and not a creek or a dam:

Are some turbines made for working on pipes?

Can I cut a pipe (as I would do when I put a filter on it) and install a turbine there ?
The pipe comes into the turbine, and then comes out... Yes?
Or else?

The advantage of the pipe is that I will have a regular flow.
I have no freeze at all.
But as I do not want PE pipes in the sun, I cannot have it totally vertical...
Then I suppose it changes the pressure...
 
Scott L. Davis
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I would think that if you are tanking water, you don't have enough potential to spend any money on. The thing is with engineering, you can do anything. Really the question is "Can you afford it?" or more generally "Do it offer good value for money spent?"

Your tank is designed to optimize irrigation and it doesn't sound like there is extra energy there to be harvested practically.

That said, I used an irrigation system pipe to power our homestead in a remote area of BC. However, we were far off grid, where power costs at least a dollar per kilowatt hour. Also, we had a big pipe and a stream that ran all the time. Our system used about 400-500 US gallons per minute for power and about 200 gallons per minute for irrigation. We had a big hayfield we were irrigating by sprinklers.

Cheers,

Scotty
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Ho! I had started to believe the reverse when you spoke about your irrigation system pipe!
I use electricity basically for washing machine and computer, not much...
And some light bulbs of course.
Scott L. Davis wrote:Your tank is designed to optimize irrigation and it doesn't sound like there is extra energy there to be harvested practically.

I can change some PE pipes easily because it is all near the house and not so long.

The only thing I cannot change is the size of the hole at the base of the tank.
The diameter is 2 inches.
What would be the needed fall to get some decent power then?
I have been looking, I think there are 20m which should be 60 feet.

we had a big pipe. Our system used about 400-500 US gallons per minute for power and about 200 gallons per minute for irrigation.

Can you tell more or less the diameter please?
 
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