Jump to content

A little hydro project I hope to have built by next rainy season.


Recommended Posts

I have done some research on water wheels, micro-hydro (at the suggestion of others), and other forms of generating power via water. 

 

While we would not be able to depend on it year round, during rainy season, I think a little water wheel would perform pretty well, for several months anyway. The real positive thing about it is, it would generate power 24 hours per day, not stopping because of a lack of wind or sun. As long as the rice fields were over flowing, it would continue to provide power. 

 

The item I would get it to power, would be an alternator, designed and built by a company I used to do business with many years ago back home , Lair's Auto Electric, on Ferguson Avenue, Savannah, Georgia.

 

Those ol' boys built some of the heaviest, toughest, meanest alternators I ever used in my life. You should have seen some of the external diodes they put on those alternators. Over heating, breaking down, failure due to inferior parts - none of that would happen when dealing with Lair's. But, if you ever did have a problem, you could take it to them and they would make good on it. 

 

So, what I am going to do is, contact them ol' boys at Lair's Auto Electric, and have them build me a older AC Delco, self exciting alternator. (Those alternators were very common on cars for many years.) I figure I could get them to build me up a 150 to 200 ampere alternator and ship it over to me. I could then build a water wheel with a good sized reduction pulley on it, so it would be able to spin up in slow moving water.

 

ac_delco_self_exciting_alternator.jpg

 

I figure that would be good for, oh, three months, maybe four, twenty-four hours per day, during the rainy season. Wouldn't have to worry about not-so-sunny days, then. :)

 

------------------------

 

As you can see, we have a dyke between the property and the access road to the farm:

IMG_0165.jpg

Worst case, we could probably build a bridge across it, and dam up a portion of it, forcing the water to take a specific route under a given area of the bridge. I have seen other property owners partially dam it up, downstream. They did so to catch fish in gill nets. 

Edited by Paul
  • Like 5
Link to post
Share on other sites
Scottiev

a little off topic but here you go for the rainy season power generator....had a set up like this in my friends cabin down river worked fine for recharging the batteries

 

post-12360-0-88825200-1386940569_thumb.jpg

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Paul isn't hydroelectric more efficient than other systems----input vs output

Link to post
Share on other sites

Paul isn't hydroelectric more efficient than other systems----input vs output

 

Couldn't say. I have no idea, honestly. I know that it is quiet. Wind turbines tend to be noisy.

 

I know that it would run 24 / 7. Solar is limited to day time. So, if I do this right, the batteries would be able to breeze through rainy season, while rarely being drawn upon.

a little off topic but here you go for the rainy season power generator....had a set up like this in my friends cabin down river worked fine for recharging the batteries

 

attachicon.gifbicycle_generator.jpg

 

I wouldn't say off topic. Although, the ones I have seen here were for pumping water, not generating power. Definitely would work, though.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Couldn't say. I have no idea, honestly. I know that it is quiet. Wind turbines tend to be noisy.

 

I know that it would run 24 / 7. Solar is limited to day time. So, if I do this right, the batteries would be able to breeze through rainy season, while rarely being drawn upon.

 

I wouldn't say off topic. Although, the ones I have seen here were for pumping water, not generating power. Definitely would work, though.

 

I was comparing price vs output on different systems on e-bay last week and hydro has a lot higher output for the investment from what I seen, but I am still learning

 

A whole lot more involved when you start considering sell back theory's to the electric company that's for sure

Link to post
Share on other sites
thebob

How much water do you have flowing, and how much is the drop? You need a lot of water, falling a few feet to produce reasonable power.

 

For example 25 liters per second, falling 2 meters gives about 500 Watts, but you will loose about 30% trying to generate electricity from it.

 

So you need about 240 tons per hour falling 2 meters to produce 1Kw

Edited by thebob
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
How much water do you have flowing, and how much is the drop?

 

Well, if I come off the rice field, there would be a drop there. But, more of what I am considering doing, would be something along these lines:

 

 

 

 

 

Not nearly as large, perhaps. But, I want something that will run while the water is flowing down the dyke. I want to route the water more down a specific path so it will increase the pressure. 

 

The water in the dyke all but disappears during dry season. In fact, it is considerably lower now than it was in the photo above, just back in November. During the first week of October, that same dyke over flowed its banks. It was the worst rains they had ever experienced in that area.

 

Still in the very, VERY early stages yet. But, that is the basic idea anyway. 

 

An alternate plan is to have a stationary water wheel that sits in the channel from the rice field, turning an alternator / motor that will generate power as water passes underneath.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Headshot

With the descriptions you are giving of your place in Cambodia, it made me wonder about a number of things. How close are you to the river (and a constant supply of running water)? Are you within a flood zone? If there are rice paddies around, it usually means the area is susceptible to flooding. Is your house high enough (either built on high ground or on stilts) that the floods won't wipe you out? With all of that standing water around your place (rice paddies), are there a lot of mosquitoes in the area? What are you doing to prevent yourself contracting malaria or dengue fever (or any of the other nasty mosquito-borne diseases)? I know these questions are a bit off-topic, but it seems these things would be very important (at least as important as generating electricity). I would imagine that they would account for more loss of life in your area than the lack of electricity (and yes...I realize that you need electricity to run the forums).

 

On generation, (as isolated as you seem to be), I would have some form of backup electric generation (solar, wind, hydro, gas or diesel generators, whatever) to whatever generation you are using as your main source, so that if one fails you, your backup can pick up the slack. I would assume that your goal is to have uninterrupted power at your house, which you will only achieve that if you cover the bases. Just remember that any generation source you choose will require some maintenance (and therefore a time commitment from you). The more different sources you have, the more time you will need to spend maintaining them. If it were me, I would choose solar generation with storage batteries as my primary source (be sure to size your system so it meets all of your electrical needs and keeps the batteries charged), and then have a diesel generator as my backup source. I would never mess with a source, such as wind generation (unless you live on a hill where the wind always blows) or hydro generation (unless there is a constant flow of water that you can access), that would only provide power seasonally. Even if a system isn't supplying power, you still need to maintain it.

Link to post
Share on other sites
thebob

For an underflow wheel with 1sq/ft of paddle area a 5mph flow will produce about 500W. Underflow wheels have an efficiency of about 10% so you will gain about 50W per sq/ft of paddle.

 

To give some idea, this is what 3KW looks like.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Paul, do you need to be concerned with theft?

 

Nope. Not in the slightest. Family is always on the property, including three very good guard dogs.

 

 

With the descriptions you are giving of your place in Cambodia, it made me wonder about a number of things. How close are you to the river (and a constant supply of running water)?

 

Year round? Very far away. Seasonal, see the photo of the man moving the bricks across the dyke. It is between the farm property and the access road to the farm. It is almost dry now, in fact.

 

 

Are you within a flood zone? If there are rice paddies around, it usually means the area is susceptible to flooding. Is your house high enough (either built on high ground or on stilts) that the floods won't wipe you out?

 

Yes, nothing but rice fields all around. Very low land. But, the floods they had in October we not typical, even for October. So, while many properties were flooded during this time, including the land the farm house is on, the home was not flooded. It just looked as though it were on a small island.

 

 

With all of that standing water around your place (rice paddies), are there a lot of mosquitoes in the area? What are you doing to prevent yourself contracting malaria or dengue fever (or any of the other nasty mosquito-borne diseases)? I know these questions are a bit off-topic, but it seems these things would be very important (at least as important as generating electricity). I would imagine that they would account for more loss of life in your area than the lack of electricity (and yes...I realize that you need electricity to run the forums).

 

Loads of them, all over the place in fact. You should see all the bugs going toward the lights at night, off the rear of the house. Millions of them. (We are the only home in the area to run lights late into the night, in that area.)

 

I will never contract Malaria, Japanese Encephalitis, or Dengue, not from a mosquito anyway. Mosquitoes do not bite me, ever. I have never been bitten here in Cambodia, while I lived in Thailand, or at any time while I lived in the Philippines. (I do get bitten in the states, though. Explain that one to me.) I would like to think it is my charming personality that they have respect for, and why these Asian mosquitoes do not bite me. :)

 

 

On generation, (as isolated as you seem to be), I would have some form of backup electric generation (solar, wind, hydro, gas or diesel generators, whatever) to whatever generation you are using as your main source, so that if one fails you, your backup can pick up the slack. I would assume that your goal is to have uninterrupted power at your house, which you will only achieve that if you cover the bases. Just remember that any generation source you choose will require some maintenance (and therefore a time commitment from you). The more different sources you have, the more time you will need to spend maintaining them. If it were me, I would choose solar generation with storage batteries as my primary source (be sure to size your system so it meets all of your electrical needs and keeps the batteries charged), and then have a diesel generator as my backup source. I would never mess with a source, such as wind generation (unless you live on a hill where the wind always blows) or hydro generation (unless there is a constant flow of water that you can access), that would only provide power seasonally. Even if a system isn't supplying power, you still need to maintain it.

 

I already have my first solar array in service. It began generating power in October, and has been keeping 480AH of batteries charged since then, as well as providing any / all power we use during the day. We watch movies on television, run my stand fan to keep me cool on hot nights, run my computer and internet as needed (when I take it out there), and all the lighting we have needed in two homes and an outside kitchen / dining area. That's about nine (9) lamps in all, presently. I need to add lighting to the front porch area, though.

 

I keep a more than adequate supply of deionized water, two specific gravity testers, two AC / DC multimeters / clamp on ammeters, plenty of wire, extra fuses and fuse holders, lighting switches, sockets and a bag of hand tools all on site. I can do just about anything needed to maintain the array and battery system.

 

When I am at the farm, for the moment anyway, my primary job, aside from making sure the contractor completes his work on time, is to lay in my hammock drinking ice cold coconuts.

Wind power here, I feel is not a feasible way to go. I will buy a weather monitor, as time and money permits, which will allow me to check the wind patterns over a years time, specifically for my area, to verify this.

 

Water (Hydro) power IS a feasible solution, during the rainy season anyway. So, I am aware that it would only be suitable for about four or five months of the year. However, this could supplement the solar array, especially on overcast days. Without it, we would be looking solely at autonomy during those times. Of course, we have several days of autonomy, if necessary, until the sun starts shining again.

 

As far as a generator goes, to be perfectly honest, I do not want to go that route unless I REALLY have to. I do not wish to deal with hauling fuel to the farm just to keep a noisy generator running. Besides, no appliances or loads we are currently running are critical loads that MUST run all the time. If the array were to fail for some reason, it wouldn't be our death. We would just have wait until parts were delivered to sort the issue. Again, I would have several days to get the issue sorted - well, as long as it weren't a battery bank issue.

 

With that said, I have spare controllers being shipped to me as we speak. I will also have additional solar panels in place, well before next rainy season. (There will be two separate solar arrays at the farm, by then.)

 

I will not have a refrigerator or deep freezer. We currently use eskies (ice chests) to keep anything we need there, cold. Down the road, if we go with a ref or freezer, I will make sure to have a MUCH larger array, as well as additional battery storage available to carry that load for several days (1 Kilowatt / 24 hours). At the moment, and for good measure, that would take about a three kilowatts array. I am not able to go that route at this time, financially or otherwise.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
Scottiev

maybe a  3 way fridge ( 120v ,12v dc , propane) like in Motorhomes. For the rainy season run it on propane , in the sunny times run it on 12v dc.. i am sure there a nozzel conversion for what every propane equivalant they use there.. ie natural gas , butane

Link to post
Share on other sites

Paul, did you ever consider biogas? I'm not sure how one could go about generating power from it  - I think there is some sort of engine that can be run from the gas...

Link to post
Share on other sites

maybe a  3 way fridge ( 120v ,12v dc , propane) like in Motorhomes. For the rainy season run it on propane , in the sunny times run it on 12v dc.. i am sure there a nozzel conversion for what every propane equivalant they use there.. ie natural gas , butane

 

Honestly, a refrigerator isn't all that important to me. The last thing I want to do is to rely on other fuels - petrol, diesel, natural gas, LPG,, etc. I want, as much as possible, to run completely off-grid without having to depend on outside sources for fuel of any kind. So, solar, wind, hydro - that's it for me. If we can't make it by using any combination thereof, preferably solar, we just won't make it.

Paul, did you ever consider biogas? I'm not sure how one could go about generating power from it  - I think there is some sort of engine that can be run from the gas...

 

I have in the past. To be honest, I haven't thought of it in a while, though.

 

 

Methane power? Cow and fowl excrement is what I would have to work with, though.

Edited by Paul
Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

I have never been bitten here in Cambodia, while I lived in Thailand, or at any time while I lived in the Philippines. (I do get bitten in the states, though. Explain that one to me.) I

 

Racist mosquitoes that prefer dark meat

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Guidelines. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue..

Capture.JPG

I Understand...