Discussions about Hydro power
I'm looking to add a manufactured hydro plant to my off grid power system. Something I can move into place on a large pallet. Anyone out there already running a system like this? Speak up, tell me about it, product reviews welcomed!
Also I have 3 genral hydro questions, but frist you need to know about my water supply. It's a seasonal Creek runs 8 to 10 months out of the year. There's about 100ft of fall on my property. And I'd have to run power lines for roughly 50 yards to get from the bottom of that drop to my battery bank.
Q1 is the changing flow rate of a seasonal Creek a concern, if the creek falls below a minimum flow rate can that cause any damage?
Q2 type of power generation, with that far of a carry should I generate AC that I then convert to DC at my battery bank, or start off generating DC and hope to make up for the voltage drop by uesing low resistance wire like for solar panels?
Q3 what is a reasonable expectation of power I can generate? Can hydro come anywhere close to equaling say 6kw generator?
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With hydro it is all about what you want to spend. I know 2 people who are doing hydro in the summer (river ice prevents the use for about 1/2 the year or more) and they said it was not really worth the effort but since they have it they will use it.
One guy did a simple raft with a paddle wheel & hooked up a car alternator through a series of gears and chains scavenged off of old 10 speeds. He uses it at his fish camp to power his freezer. As the flow rate changes he adjusts the gearing so that he has the desired RPM on his alternator. He uses a scavenged dash power gauge to judge his RPMs. Total cost was maybe a few hundred bucks in gas to find the stuff and pay for the cable. Plus the inverter and freezer cost which were done in a separate project. The cable is 2 gauge so that he does not experience line loss, and he talked to someone at the university to get the wire diameter he needed.
The other guy I know bought a kit one and he has said it was not worth it. He does 110 power for his house with it. When he broke down the cost and compared it to solar (because both can only be used in summer) he said solar would have been better because you still get some power in the winter and you don't have to wait for the ice to go out.
If you are only getting flow out of your creek 8 to 10 months a year you might want to crunch some numbers and see if it is even worth it. Solar has had a good tax rebate (30%) but I do not know if that will continue under Trump, and at your latitude you will get power all year. Wind might be another option for year round power and the costs should be compared.
Out of curiosity can you do a reservoir so you will have flow all year for hydro? It would definitely change how the numbers work out for a cost analysis.
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