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Automation & Control
Case Study: Building Your Own 20kW Hydroelectric Power Plant
11/16/2011

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This microhydroelectric power plant generates 20kW of power, controlled by equipment from AutomationDirect.
This microhydroelectric power plant generates 20kW of power, controlled by equipment from AutomationDirect.

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Rob-CapeTown
User Rank
Iron
Re: Congratulations!
Rob-CapeTown   7/8/2012 8:31:18 AM
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Hi there, go have a look at this guy (Manfred) site that he built and developed in Chile

http://ludens.cl/paradise/turbine/turbine.html

Good luck

Robert

Cape Town 

South Africa

rkrudolph@mtnloaded.co.za

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Building your own power plant
Rob Spiegel   4/13/2012 11:00:00 AM
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I think you're absolutely right, NYeng. This would not be an easy hurdle. I would guess that you're right about it being cost prohibitive. That's a shame, because this is a technically sound project. 

nyeng
User Rank
Gold
Re: Building your own power plant
nyeng   4/11/2012 10:55:29 AM
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I applaud this project from a technical and ingenuity standpoint. 

However,  I tend to agree with the pessimism on the regulatory stuff.  Here in NY, the environmental hurdles as well as the federal & state energy commisions/authorities and utilities would make it nearly impossible.  The thousands you would have to spend on attorneys, permits, fees, and political contributions to make it happen legally could buy you electric power from the utility for a hundred years or better.  I think in this state the only thing attempting such a project would get you is legal trouble and the related fines and attorney fees.

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: 80/20 Rule
Rob Spiegel   4/5/2012 4:19:16 PM
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The idea may or may not be impractical, but the comments are entusiastic. Those who comment on the Design News site are passionate about their views. I think that's very clear in this thread as well as the other comment threads.

ChrisP
User Rank
Silver
Re: 80/20 Rule
ChrisP   4/5/2012 12:55:34 AM
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Design News asked for people to moderate and presumably add comments to their web site.  You had to make a certain number of posts to remain in the system and to receive a stipend or whatever it was called.  I get the feeling that this thread is more about maintaining a posting record than making real comments about an idea that is impractical in almost every state.

garyg1
User Rank
Iron
Re: so there is such thing as a free lunch!
garyg1   4/4/2012 9:49:49 AM
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You are absolutely correct. There's little more than .001 hp available from water @ 2 GPM dropping 2 feet. If this was able to produce 20 Kw we'd have ourselves a nice perpetual motion machine! I think that the heading of the article is  misleading. The article itself is worthy.

Aldo Agraz
User Rank
Iron
Congratulations!
Aldo Agraz   3/22/2012 3:13:21 AM
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This is a very good work! I wonder if this is affordable for developing countries like Mexico or Latin America where there is good potential for micro hydroelectric generation, how expensive is the system and where can I purchase one? Thanks

Honders
User Rank
Iron
Another self designed and built 20kW Micro Hydro
Honders   2/10/2012 7:55:41 PM
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1 saves
Wow! great job!

I have yet to connect our Micro Hydro to the grid. Except for a few hours of testing, when I discovered what 'absolute value' metering meant, we have been running autonomously since commissioning 2006. I used pumps as turbines and 3 phase motors as single phase generators to cut costs. I don't think I gave up any efficiency at all since I'm getting a bit more than my initial calculations indicated. NY just passed the net-metering law for under 25kW hydro, so we'll be hooking up soon.

Syncing induction generators of a few tens of KW to each other or the power-line is not a problem as long as they are within a few RPM or Hz of each other. 

Check it out here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bRl0ztxn094

HTTP://EnergyIndependence-Rob.blogspot.com

Happy Hydro

Rob

N. Christopher Perry
User Rank
Gold
Re: lets check the math
N. Christopher Perry   2/6/2012 7:02:23 PM
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You're numbers look spot on.  At that scale, standard induction motors might achieve 70%-80% efficiency, and the turbine/penstock losses are in that range as well.

Froese
User Rank
Iron
Re: Building your own power plant
Froese   12/10/2011 9:56:10 PM
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Thank you, renuengineer for that explanation of how induction generation works; I couldn't have done it better!


Re: FERC, they don't involve themselves with individual installations this small. In South Carolina, our department of Health and Environmental Control does regulate dams & reservoirs, but our lake had already been in existence for over 100 years. The utility company was satisfied with some cursory drawings and assurance that we were entirely induction-based. The only official inspection was that of the county building department.

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