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hydroelectric power low flow, no head  RSS feed

 
John Master
Posts: 519
Location: Wisconsin
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looking for land and found a lot that has a lazy river next to it, very little elevation change, 10 feet wide very slow current. Any ideas how to take power from it without much head or flow? I was looking at trompe designs and wondering if I could somehow turn water into compressed air then into electricity. kind of a reach but anyone have ideas how to tap into an application like that? Could not dam it, but could draw from it.
 
Kevin Searcy
Posts: 27
Location: ST Albert AB Canada
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Hey John, what about creating pressure by reducing the discharge size like a swedge. Say 8" intake for 8' down to 6" for 8', and repeat to a 1" discharge directed to your generator drive system? Just some thoughts!
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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The amount of power that can be taken from a stream of moving water is determined by multiplying the head and the flow. If a steam has no head or no flow then it can provide no power. If it has little head, then it needs a lot of flow to provide a little power. The best hydro sites have lots of head and lots of flow. This doesn't sound like a good hydro-power location.


 
S Bengi
Posts: 1359
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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While it doesn't have a head, it might actually still have a nice flow. If you were to block the entire 10ft wide stream and funnel all that water into a bucket. how many gallons bottle of water could you get per minutes. You might be surprise that even though it looks like it is slow moving the volume of water is still alot more than you expect.

If the site does end up being viable you will most likely need to use a kaplan turbine for the low head.
I am completely guessing here but with a 10ft wide stream and probably a drop of 1ft. You can generate 184W per hour aka 4.4kWHr per day (133kWHr/month) with a 50% efficiency. That is enough power for all you LED light bulbs, phones, laptop, tablet in each bedroom, fridge, and small appliance, but not enough for your induction cooktop, AC cooling, electric washer+dryer and to iron your clothes daily.
 
John Master
Posts: 519
Location: Wisconsin
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I agree the problem is that the river runs adjacent to the property not through it. If it was on the property I could restrict it, build a small dam and then have lots of flow for some kind of water wheel or turbine or something, pretty sure if I bought that property that I would be in DNR trouble for damming it. My thought was if I could manage a few feet of head maybe I could drill or excavate a large trench and set up a trompe? from what I see a trompe only need a few feet of water to operate but it would be best if I could go down 50 feet or so. Had a thought of a trompe inside a well casing though I don't know if that is even feasible or if the trompe relies on a large underground cavity.
 
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