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hydro power: wheel or rotation tank?

 
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Hello all at permies, I have spent some time looking through threads here,  I have enjoyed it greatly! I decided to join and introduce my self and situation and ask for opinions on what the best way to move forward with building our generator.

At present I have done a little experimentation with a vortex tank on a smaller flow I have here on the farm. I made a little power, just enough to run a string of LED christmas lights, and even that draw really drug the machine down. I wanted to spend some time learning about efficiency before I dive headlong into building the "real"/ "big" power plant, as I would rather end up with something useful.

I have installed 3 40' sections of .30 wall steel pipe, and then concreted those in. I allowed for very little fall, maybe two inches in 120 feet or threabouts, so this pipe is relatively level.   On the intake side I still need to cut some flanges to adapt a large gate valve to the end of the pipe,  while on the outflow side I am at a time-out... this is what got me to testing the vortex on a small scale, I didn't want to end up with something that I have to be constantly fiddling with that doesn't really work but "looks cool".  Erego, after playing with this small setup I have started to think that possibly a wheel would be a wiser choice.

Flow:  Flow comes from a string of springs joining together into a small stream, which feeds my lake.  Additionally this lake has a 640 acre recharge area, a LOT of water comes down the valley after even a small rain. There are actually two levels of water in my lakes, the upper lake is spring fed, which then runs into the lower.  The upper lake is what I tested this little vortex generator on.  A few years ago we had a bad drought, I was still getting 5 gal/sec out of the culverts that keep the pond at the correct level; this is the worst ever case.   About 6 months out of the year I have 20 gal/ sec or so, this of course does fluctuate some, as the springs produce much better for several weeks after a rain.  

Head: 4 to 9 feet, depending on how this is built.  another 75 feet or so past where the end of my 12" tube currently is, there is a spring pond.  9' of head could be gotten by dropping a wheel over into this spring pond hole, but I would need 75 more feet of pipe, which is doable.

There is 5' of head FROM THE TOP of the pipe to the bottom of a hole that I was going to put an 8' rotation tank in....and then got cold feet.  I could dig this out a bit more and get 6', but thats about it.  Now I will go get some pictures, and add them shortly.  -Rich

A few more points, now that there are pictures...1) the "dock" at the intake (is actually a recycled ladder rack from a pickup) is actually a frame for 2x4" grid stock panel to keep beavers and trash out of the pipe.    2) if I elect to run the pipe 75 more feet out, it will be well up off the ground.  Maybe it can be part of a goat fence? Idk.  3)  routing the entire 12" pipe into the spring pond will create an opportunity for another drop coming out of the spring pond, can use it one more time before it leaves the property...  
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the test vortex, flow here is a little diminished, could put the 3
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here is the capped off 12, 2 18's in the distance will be capped with lids that open via floats, when big flows happen.
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here is the outlet of the pipe, positioned over a hole I am not sure I will use. could get a lot more head by adding 75ft of pipe...
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this is the flow that will be coming through the 12
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looking over the spring pond, here I could gain several more feet of head, and who doesnt like more head?
 
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The short of it is, you just need more dam height.

For every foot of dam height, you get a 10% increase in power.

You said it is doable to get two more feet of height by extending your feed pipe by a few lengths, so it it is easy to see that is a 20% increase in effeciency right there. You definately have the flow, so I would anything that would get your dam height even higher. Earth works, getting your intake pipe higher, etc.
 
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