Mountain View, CA 94040

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Water Provides the Power

Water power isn't new - ancient texts showed complex water driven systems. Let's face it - there is a lot of power there! In the past, water was used for grinding grain, pumping water, and even directly to drive machines.

What is newer in the last century or so is creating electricity using water power. Huge water projects and dams such as the Hoover Dam started creating very clean electricity and still do today. On a smaller scale suitable for homes, ranches, homesteads etc. the common name is "Micro-hydro". This system is the heart of a very economical, growing, and popular renewable energy system. If you have running water on your site, you can tap into it for renewable electric energy. The more constant the flow, the more reliable the power system throughout the year. It only takes a few feet of drop through a pipe and a small micro-hydro system can easily supply the electric needs of modest homes, farms, or other remote locations.micro-hydro power is a clean and sustainable alternative power source

If the water is available 24 hours per day, a small system working with a battery bank and inverter can easily supply your needs.

 

Harris Pelton micro hydro power turbine

We carry two excellent water turbine generators:

  • Harris Pelton turbines by Don Harris (manufactured in his hydro powered shop near Davenport, CA.)
  • ESD Turgo turbines and accessories.

Both of these offer an excellent opportunity for renewable and sustainable electric energy.

A micro-hydro electric power generator

 

Micro-Hydroelectric Generators

Harris HD 1 nozzle
Harris HD 2 nozzles
Harris HD 4 nozzles
ESD Turgo Turbine 2 Nozzles
ESD Turgo Turbine 4 Nozzles
Aquair Submersible 12/24 Volt Generator
Micro-Hydroelectric Accessories


OK, so what does it take?

Water power available for conversion to electricity depends on three factors:

  • Dynamic head - (H - water pressure while in motion at the desired flow rate based on height)
  • Flow rate - (F - typically gallons per minute"
  • Efficiency - (E - effectiveness of turbine/generator system)

For an estimate of power, you can use the following equation:

H x F x (0.18 x E) = power in watts

With a typical turbine efficiency of 25-50% (the higher the head the better) use a nominal value of .3 for E. (30% efficiency)

Pressure Drop in Pipe
(head loss in feet of pipe in PVC Class 160 plastic type pipe)

Note: For head loss in feet, multiply PSI by 2.31. For instance, for 20 GPM and 1.5" diameter pipe, multiplying 1.34 PSI by 2.31, you get 3.1 feet. That is, for every 100 feet of 1.5" pipe with 20 GPM flowing through it, you will lose 3.1 feet of head due to friction.

. Nominal pipe diameter (inches)
Flow (GPM) 1 1.25 1.5 2 2.5 3 4
1 0.05 0.02 0.00 . . . .
2 0.14 0.05 0.02 . . . .
3 0.32 0.09 0.05 . . . .
4 0.53 0.16 0.09 0.02 . . .
5 0.81 0.25 0.12 0.05 . . .
6 1.13 0.35 0.18 0.07 0.02 . .
7 1.52 0.46 0.23 0.07 0.02 . .
8 1.94 0.58 0.30 0.09 0.05 . .
9 2.42 0.72 0.37 0.12 0.05 . .
10 2.93 0.88 0.46 0.16 0.07 0.02 .
12 3.51 1.04 0.53 0.18 0.07 0.02 .
14 4.11 1.22 0.65 0.21 0.09 0.02 .
16 5.47 1.64 0.85 0.28 0.12 0.05 .
18 7.02 2.10 1.09 0.37 0.14 0.05 .
20 . 2.61 1.34 0.46 0.18 0.07 0.02
22 . 3.16 1.64 0.55 0.21 0.09 .
24 . 3.79 1.96 0.67 0.25 0.09 0.04
26 . 4.43 2.31 0.79 0.30 0.12 0.05
28 . 5.15 2.66 0.90 0.35 0.14 0.05
30 . 5.91 3.05 1.04 0.42 0.16 0.11
35 . . 3.46 1.18 0.46 0.18 0.12
40 . . 4.62 1.57 0.62 0.23 0.13
45 . . . 1.99 0.79 0.30 0.15
50 . . . 2.49 0.79 0.30 0.20
55 . . . 3.03 1.20 0.46 0.25
60 . . . 3.60 1.43 0.55 0.30
65 . . . . 1.66 0.65 0.35
70 . . . . 1.94 0.74 0.40
75 . . . . 2.22 0.85 0.45
80 . . . . 2.52 0.97 0.50
85 . . . . 2.84 1.09 0.60
90 . . . . 3.19 1.22 .
100 . . . . . 1.36 0.80
150 . . . . . 1.50 1.60
200 . . . . . 1.66 2.70
300 . . . . . . 5.80
400 . . . . . . 9.90

Pipelines

Important factors:

1 ) Water pressure is the key for power in a micro-hydro turbine. Power available is directly related to the pressure at the bottom of the pipe( called 'head' - Multiply .433 x vertical height in feet for pressure in pounds per square inch [PSI] ) Plastic is a good choice for feedpipe into a microhydro system, as the internal wall friction is low and corrosion is eliminated.

Typical pipe pressure capabilities although you should always check with a plumbing supply store to ensure a safety margin.
Material Pressure (PSI)
Polyethelene up to 100
PVC 160-350
Steel 1000 or more

2) Pipe diameter. Pressure loss through friction varies with diameter and flow rate. The larger the diameter or slower the flow, the less loss. To measure the pressure drop, attach a guage to the pipeline, and a valve at the lower end of the pipe. With the valve closed, the pressure you measure is called static pressure ( can be calculated at .433 x height in feet). With the valve open and water going through the turbine nozzeles, the pressure measured is the dynamic or working pressure - this is the real power available. The maximum the pipeline can deliver occurs with approximately 2/3 of the static pressure. Past this point the pipeline develops more turbulence thus limiting the flow. The real flow rate is determined by the turbine nozzle. As every system is different, we will supply the proper nozzle or nozzle set for your system based on the information from head, flow, diameter, and length of pipe.

The product information from the two manufacturers can help you determine the optimum system.

Let us help you design the system!

Are you ready to start? We can help you determine if your site has a good power potential, and design a suitable system if you wish. Please call (650) 814 5177 for assistance.

Please have the following information available when you call:

  • Head pressure: Total vertical feet from the top of the pipe to where the turbine will be located.
  • Flow rate: Gallons per minute available on the site
  • Length: - Distance the pipe runs from the source to the turbine site. (If pipe is already in place, type and size
  • Electrical requirement: Distance from the turbine to the battery/inverter system.

 

Flow in Gallons per Minute Through Various Sizes of Nozzle

Microhydro power is determined by the pressure at the nozzles and flow rate through the nozzle, so the nozzles must be appropriate for the system. The following rules apply:

1) The pipe needs to remain full

2) Speed of water in the pipe must be less than 5 ft/sec

Use the table below to determine the power available with each nozzle size and pressure.

Pressure at turbine in PSI (Feet = 2.31 x PSI)
Nozzle Size 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 100
1/8" 2.0 2.6 3.0 3.3 3.6 3.9 4.2 4.7
5/32" 3.3 4.0 4.6 5.2 5.7 6.1 6.5 7.3
3/16" 4.7 5.8 6.6 7.4 8.1 8.8 9.4 10.5
7/32" 6.4 7.9 9.0 10.1 11.1 12.0 12.7 14.2
1/4" 8.4 10.2 11.8 13.2 14.5 15.7 16.7 18.7
9/32" 10.5 13.0 14.9 16.6 18.3 19.8 21.1 23.5
5/16" 13.0 16.0 18.4 20.6 22.6 25.1 27.6 31.0
11/32" 15.7 19.3 22.2 24.8 27.2 29.4 31.4 35.0
3/8" 18.8 23.0 26.6 29.6 32.5 35.1 37.6 42.0
13/32" 22.0 27.2 31.2 34.8 38.2 41.3 44.1 48.3
7/16" 25.5 31.2 36.0 40.4 44.4 48.0 50.4 56.8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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