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Small scale Hydro Electric Power

This is a discussion on Small scale Hydro Electric Power within the Alternative Energy (Wind, Solar, Hydro etc) forums, part of the Off-Grid Lifestyle category; Good morning patriots....I recently purchased a 6 acre property with an existing residence. There is a seasonal creek located about 300 ft behind the house ...

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Thread: Small scale Hydro Electric Power

  1. #1
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    Small scale Hydro Electric Power

    Good morning patriots....I recently purchased a 6 acre property with an existing residence. There is a seasonal creek located about 300 ft behind the house that runs along my property line. During periods of rain, the creek runs fast with at least a couple of feet of depth. I'm located in central Arkansas, so there is the potential of rain for most of the winter. The creek stops flowing in the summer months, but never really dries up all the way.

    Does anyone have knowledge of, or suggestions for a small scale hydro electric unit or other means of generating power by means of the flowing water? I have sufficient electrical skills to wire and install residential & commercial electrical systems and equipment, but I'm just not familiar with what's available for this scenario.
    Prepared One likes this.

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    Serious violation of the law in most place with out permits from Army Corp eng. State and like a few others depending on State law. Takes a lot of water flow to really generate usable power. a low draw can slowly charge a battery.
    Prepared One likes this.
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  3. #3
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    Thanks for the info Smitty. Something for me to research in my new state, I sure do not need to invite any trouble from "the man" Society has turned me into enough of a law breaker as it is.
    Slippy and Smitty901 like this.

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    You might be able to construct a non-permanent sustem and only install it when the "need" arises.
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  6. #5
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    Could just run a pipe for the water to flow through off a small dammed up area. Using the weight of the water more then the current to turn a wheel for a more consistent flow. Gear reduction to your alternator/generator for power. Provided you have some drop in the level of the creek bed, aka a small water fall. Goggle is your friend for this one.

    It's up to you but if you ask the answer will be no. So at your own risk just do it and ask forgiveness after the fact, IMHO. Try to do as little damage as possible and make it easy to return the creek back to normal. Hopefully it will go unnoticed, keep it small and well hidden.

  7. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reconone View Post
    Thanks for the info Smitty. Something for me to research in my new state, I sure do not need to invite any trouble from "the man" Society has turned me into enough of a law breaker as it is.
    Army corp of ENG has more power that all of them to hang you. I kid you not. I went through 3 years of hell over cleaning a ditch we had a permit to do. And it was the State that put the ditch in 1951.
    Slippy likes this.
    New life as a house husband, major shift in duties.

    Karl Marx said, "Destroy their culture, rewrite their history. Ruin their art and literature, and defame their heroes, by offering fabrications to scandalize that which they considered good.
    After reading this Obama said I am on it.

  8. #7
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    While possible to make power from a flowing stream you really need to get some vertical drop in the water to reasonably make power. Even 18" of head driving a squirrel fan turbine can make 15+ watts. Usually it's easier to just buy a solar panel.

    As far as the permits goes it's difficult unless you and prove to the water board that you have historic rights such as maybe there was an old mill at the site 50 years ago.
    For a small "run of the river" power generation I wouldn't ask for permission in a rural area. Many of my customers didn't with no problems (I used to build water turbines).
    I live in a rural area that barely has a building inspector so when I converted my home to solar power I didn't ask. I just built the system. Years later when the county noticed I walked them through the system and explained how it was in compliance with NEC 2014 giving out lots of details. The inspector had no idea about half of what I was saying and since I'd brought in a certified electrician to look things over before I turned the system on for the first time the building inspector was satisfied.

    I brought in an electrician so that if I ever had an insurance claim I could show that a certified electrician had inspected the system. The electrician also had no idea how the DC portion of the solar system was wired but agreed that all wiring looked good and the system had plenty of breakers ect.
    Last edited by Elvis; 12-28-2019 at 06:55 PM.
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  9. #8
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    I'd suggest a water wheel type of construction. You'll need to get some gears to speed up the rpm's of the final output shaft and I'd look into PM Alternators (Permanent Magnet). They have advantages over generators. (I'm thinking automotive type/style). You can get some nice 12V systems otherwise, depending on your budget, you can start thinking inverters and 120V A.C. Good luck. Sounds like a nice project.
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  10. #9
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    Great idea on the Hydro-Power but sounds complicated...

    With an over-supply of illegals, get you a gaggle of them and tie them up to a series of treadmills hooked up to the proper alternators/invertors and then to a battery bank you might be able to supply adequate power to your homestead. You'll need to set a timer every couple of hours to remind you to scream IMMAGRACION, IMMIGRACION to help motivate the illegals.

    But keep in mind that making burritos and chimmichangas to feed the little wetback bastards uses valuable energy...
    Last edited by Slippy; 12-30-2019 at 09:34 AM.

  11. #10
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    OK, . . . a little math:

    One horsepower is 550 ft lbs of energy, . . . it is also 750 watts. The average house uses something less than 3KW of power PER HOUR while folks are up and about, . . . less when they are sleeping.

    Not allowing for any depreciation of effort, . . . needing 3000 watts, . . . that means 4 horsepower is required to make that amount of electricity.

    4 times 550 means you have to have 2200 pounds of water dropping 1 foot and applying that force to some type of mechanical device that will convert the mechanical motion into electricity.

    2200 pounds of water is a little over 300 gallons, . . . per hour, . . . or 5 gallons per minute, . . . or one gallon every 12 seconds.

    I know, . . . that is "pie in the sky" engineering, . . . but it is a place to begin the decision making process on "can I do this?".

    If you cannot create this flow on a 24/7/365 basis, . . . then you have to think about batteries as a storage medium and devices to turn 12 VDC into 120 VAC.

    If you CAN CREATE this flow, . . . reliably, . . . you are good to go.

    May God bless,
    Dwight
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