Disclaimer: First and foremost Id like to start off by saying I am by no means an expert in science, math, or hydro electric, just a college undergrad interested in renewable energy. Therefore this idea could be totally useless and physics wise impossible.
Alright, with that being said, I've been formulating an idea for the past few weeks about an in house pico-hydro small electric generator power plant. The idea starts with a 55 gallon drum filled with water. At the bottom of the drum is a 3/4" hole with a valve. After the valve a hose would run to a water pump inlet. A hose would then be ran from the outlet of the pump to a 1/2" nozzle, or two, which would be directed at a pelton wheel. The pelton wheel would be attached to a pma generator directly at the shaft, or through a pulley system. The water would then fall to the bottom of the pelton wheel housing and out a tube that would be redirected into the 55 gallon drum, thus recycling the water and completing the system. I have done some research on pond pumps and have discovered a few that produce a decent gph and draw relatively low watts. One I have been thinking about using is a pondmaster pm-9.5 which can pump 950 gph at zero ft and draws 93w. Assuming I would have to raise the water 6 ft to get to the pelton wheel housing, it would be pumping 650 gph, or 10.8 gpm. Now, I have researched pma's and have come across some from Mikes windmill shop. This website claims that their 24v pma will create 35.8v and 4.1 amps at 430rpm, therefore creating 146.78w. Now if the system was ran all day at 430rpm that would be about 3.5Kwh of power generated per day. Now subtract the 2.3Kwh that would be drawn from the pump, and you get a gain of 1.2Kwh. In theory to me this sounds viable, but like I said, I am no expert or even close to one. So it makes me wonder, if it is viable, Im sure someone much smarter and educated that me would have already come up with this idea. As of now Im not sure if I could even produce 430 rpms, but with a pulley system it seems like it could be possible. Another concern I had was energy loss during the conversion to electricity. Critiques and info as to why this wouldn't work are welcome. Please let me know what you think.