Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Testing For Hydro Electric Power Possibilities

Remember how last week I was curious about how I could get off grid power without cutting down my trees? Well, here goes my first attempt to find a way to get sustainable power, in the semi dark! Hydro-power! One of my readers here at The Oko Box pointed out that I have many water sources on my property and there may be a possiblity of harnessing the energy from that...so I was really excited when Mr. Tebbe contacted me from the Sundance Power Systems company in Weaverville,NC to discuss possible hydro power options.
The first step I had to do was to test how many seconds it would take my creek to fill up a bucket. I searched along the creek for a spot to shove a bucket under, but then remembered the creek is already piped into my pond on a decline...
I kept dropping the bucket when it would start to fill, so Bort handed me his Nalgene bottle which has little measuring dealies along the side (32 ounces). It took 2 seconds to fill & overflow a 32 ounce space.
WATER RATE: 8 seconds to fill 1 Gallon of water
I also measured the height of the full water drop at that spot, which is approx 3.5 to 4 feet high.
I started some Hydro Electric research as suggested by Mr. Tebbe... and found that this kind of project hits right at the heart of every learning disability I was ever diagnosed with! ha ha.
First I found a "simple formula" for figuring out if you can house a lil' hydro power :
"A simple formula for approximating electric power production at a hydroelectric plant is: P = ρhrgk, where
P is Power in watts,
ρ is the density of water (~1000 kg/m3),
h is height in meters,
r is flow rate in cubic meters per second,
g is acceleration due to gravity of 9.8 m/s2,
k is a coefficient of efficiency ranging from 0 to 1. Efficiency is often higher (that is, closer to 1) with larger and more modern turbines. "

The only result/solution for the Luck Cabin's Hydro-ness I mathmatically came up with after examining that formula was this:
This is engineer stuff. (Is reader Lou Cheese out there? I bet you make something of this jibber jabber!!)
What I wanna know is hydro-electric a possibility for the Luck Cabin (where i use about 30-40$ of electric a month/ or approx. 250KWH per month)
...how much power could my lil' pipe of creek water produce?


Grant said...

(skip this part if you want)
I called the drop a meter and the efficiency .8, which hopefully is a reasonable figure... given those numbers, you have P = 1000kg/m^3 * 1m * 1/2112m^3/s * 9.8m/s^2 * .8 * 3600 hr/s

That works out to 13 kW per hour. in a month, then, you could generate 720 times that, or 9360 kW, plenty.

TebbeK said...

I REALLY appreciate the photos and your formulaic approach. Try to find a wide open bucket your water bottle is a little to small to truly capture the water. as for the drop We need a whole lot more than a meter to make anything go. Is the little pond fall at the top of the property or the bottom? This is fun,but I am still coming out there to see for my self.

Leslie's Gone Oko said...

Hey Grant...
Thanks. I think that sounds good.


Mr TebbeK -
SOunds not too good?
I did do it with a bucket first, I held a 5 gallon bucket up to the flow from the pipe, it would fill the first gallon or 2 in 8 seconds (looked liked nearly half the bucket but then i'd drop it because of the weight and angle I had to hold it at.)
I will re-do and rig something where all the water goes only in the bucket... let me look around the cabin for some metal to catch it!
BTW- is the "drop" only the waterfall part, or the whole creek dropping down the mountain slowly?
The pond is close to the bottom of the property, the last 3/4 an acre. Almost 7 acres behind that... that i own.

Wild Canary said...

Bob is muttering volume, velocity and pressure...and said he will sit down in a bit, after he finishes making his creme bisquits.
He seemed to agree with TebbeK at first, but then I explained that you had a mountain behind you.
I have NO CLUE!
So, hope you get a good answer...he will ponder this as we have been considering the same for our property.
It is always a slow ponder here.
Do you want me to post on my wall, lots of teachers and math heads there...oh, I will anyway...they will have fun with this, if they read it.

MaryJane said...

Man all those numbers give me a headache! There must be a more simple way to do it...people have been using hydro power for a long time and in backwoods areas where t they probably didnt know how to do simple math. But I understand what it is getting at.
The Renewable Energy Handbook (by William Kemp) has a good section in it about hydro power. Pretty simplified too. Good for my kind of brain. They tell about a "zero head turbine" you can get that can go right into a "fast moving stream" (www.jackrabbitmarine.com). There has to be a way to make this work with all that lovely water you have workin' for ya.

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