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Micro hydro power plant

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Michael Gilligan14/05/2015 21:06:05
17010 forum posts
756 photos
Posted by Jon Gibbs on 14/05/2015 08:42:25:

This is "Backshot"...

Thanks, Jon

I stand corrected.

It looks bonkers, but ...


Ian S C15/05/2015 11:39:23
7468 forum posts
230 photos

I don't know where the great cost comes from, you would not run a turbine to generate electrity from the domestic water main(probably not leagal). The only cost is setting it up in a stream that you have access to. In a rural area, a small turbine in a creek could give a useful amount of power quite cheaply.

In NZ a common alternator is the motor from an old Fisher & Paykel washing machine/ rotating permanent magnets in fixed coils, each unit will produce about 1Kw, and they are sometimes run in banks of 3 or 4, even from a plain water wheel.

Jon Gibbs15/05/2015 13:51:42
739 forum posts

Sorry Ian, of course not.

We're just sore because many of us don't have a stream we could use and are on water meters that cost an arm and a leg since water privatization - I guess that's where Jason B's question originally came from.


Gordon W15/05/2015 14:17:58
2011 forum posts

Well it costs me about 8p to pump up 200 gals of water from the well, but I don't pay for a water board, just the electricity board. I've been looking at IanSC 's posts and reckon I could generate that from the little burn at the back, need a bit more measuring. Then I can use dirty ditch water to pump clean drinking water ,for nothing.

Clive Hartland15/05/2015 14:24:18
2630 forum posts
40 photos

Query, is it velocity or volume to make more power? All the time I was in Africa I never saw any effort to use natural water to make leccy. Not even on white managed farms where some of them had cascading streams and reserviors. Mostly wind driven windmills to pump underground water, pumps about 1" diam. A lot of underground water was undrinkable due to dissolved salts like Floride. Not good for cattle.


Jon Gibbs15/05/2015 15:45:19
739 forum posts

Hi Clive,

In theory since kinetic energy is 1/2 m v^2 and mass and volume are proportional, it's better to increase the velocity than the volume by the same factor.

...but I suppose that assumes that the turbine extracting the power has the same efficiency across the range of variables. 


Edited By Jon Gibbs on 15/05/2015 15:48:17

Neil Wyatt15/05/2015 15:51:34
18404 forum posts
718 photos
78 articles

It may surprise you all to know that, in the UK, you need an abstraction licence to run a waterwheel off-line, even though you put the water straight back in the river.

Not sure about an on-line undershot wheel that didn't need a weir.

Reasons are fairly obvious if you think about what could go wrong.


Ian S C16/05/2015 11:37:41
7468 forum posts
230 photos

It depends on the type of turbine, for a Pelton -Wheel you need velocity, a high head of water, and a small nozzle, sometimes more than one.

For a low head, a turbine such as a Francis type, this uses the volume of water, but only a few foot, metres of head, this turbine will run at a lower speed than the Pelton- Wheel.

Ian S C

BigAl19/05/2015 14:16:35
32 forum posts
8 photos

If you have a small steam nearby as a water source how about using a ram pump to get the water up to a usable level. Many years ago there was a series of articles in Model Engineer all about them.

JasonB19/05/2015 14:25:50
19538 forum posts
2136 photos
1 articles

Yes my comment on costs had assumed the tap in the OP's video was on the mains.

I'm just in negotioations to buy another Monitor kit but this one was designed to run a pump jack, just need to find a free source of fuel then I can do what I like with teh watersmiley 1/3rd scale one of these

BigAl19/05/2015 15:58:56
32 forum posts
8 photos

The ram pump I was thinking of just works by water pressure. Here is a Wiki link that explains all.


Edited By BigAl on 19/05/2015 15:59:17

Roger Hart19/05/2015 16:41:43
135 forum posts
30 photos

Apparently people did try running small turbines off the water main in the early radio days. The water companies didn't like it and used to trace the culprits using a listening stick to hear the distinctive buzzing noise.

Is there any advantage to the backshot approach other than a different direction of rotation?

Gordon W19/05/2015 17:02:01
2011 forum posts

Ram pumps used to be quite common, still used in some places. The ones I have seen need a fast flowing river, and pump a small proportion of that water, so the water needs to be drinkable if that's what it is wanted for.

Ian S C20/05/2015 09:31:10
7468 forum posts
230 photos

Using a ram to pump water to a head to generate power is almost in the class of perpetual motion, but it is an ideal way of pumping water for domestic use, or irrigation, properly set up, a ram will run for years with very little maintainance, but electricity generation requires large quantities of water. Invented by Mongophier (spelling) the French balloon guy. Getting OT.

Ian S C

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