Water Turbine ?

Discussion in 'Off Grid Living' started by riveRat, Mar 7, 2014.

  1. riveRat

    riveRat Monkey

    Ok I have lived on the sac river for a couple years and I have wanted to throw a turbine/wheel of some sort on it and pull power off it for some time now. where I live the river is around 5-10mph. Was thinking about building a small pontoon with a wheel or maybe a prop underwater. I have been looking at the 3000-5000w 300rpm AC220V Permanent Magnet Generator for around $1.5_2.5k . you guys think I could gear my prop or wheel enough to get that sucker to spin 5 times a second? I should probably build something on a smaller scale first like a 200w one but I am kind of a go big or go home type of person. I am not a complete spud and grasp almost all the aspects of these just feel like I could get some good input from ppl that have been there done that.
  2. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    First thing to find out, before you go any further is what Permitting and Restrictions the State of Kommiefornia will REQUIRE, for you to do this. There are very Strict Rules in place, for State and FEDERAL Use of Navigable Rivers, in the USA. This also includes a Army Corps of Engineers Permit. You also do NOT own the RiverBed, and more importantly the Water you intend to harness, for you little plant. So there will be Permits for that as well. Then there is the Fish & Game, and Ecology, and other Parties, with interest in the river. I suspect if you just built, whatever, and someone (Greenie) turned you in, the Fines, and Violations, would be the end of you. ..... YMMV.....

    PS: Move to a Free State, like Alaska, and the Permitting is considerably less, especially if you OWN the StreamBed on both sides. The Water use Permit isn't a big Deal here to get and there are millions of streams, that are not Fish Streams, OR Navigable Waters that can make 3-5Kw off a MicroHydro Plant....
    Dunerunner likes this.
  3. riveRat

    riveRat Monkey

    ok lets say I am in Alaska and I want to build a floating turbine that does 3-5kw

    this would be for the zombie apocalypse
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 7, 2014
  4. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    Ok, Hypothetically......
    Floating Undershot Wheel.... Design Criteria Need to Know:
    1. Speed of the water passing the point of Anchor.
    2. Diameter. Width, Paddle, or Bucket, Depth into the water.
    3. Calculate the Energy hitting the Paddle, or Bucket, by Speed, and Mass of the Water.
    4 Subtract Paddle or Bucket Efficiency, and Friction, in the Wheel Bearings and Gearing to the Generator.
    5. Subtract the Losses in the Generator itself.
    Answer will give output Energy in Watts.

    Underwater Prop.... The design is way beyond, what I can do Off the top of my Head....

    @ghrit did I miss anything major?
  5. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    Scoop would increase water flow to the turbine/ paddle wheel.
  6. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Seasonal variation of both depth and flow velocity.

    But WAIT!! There's MORE!! #3 above is NOT an easy calculation, and even more difficult to model mathematically; it's a horrendously complex problem to deal with the unstable flows at the air/water interface. Far better to do some experiments, gather empirical data, and try scaling it up. This problem resembles the tidal and offshore current schemes that require large machinery to collect relatively low density hydraulic energy. (Meaning an in stream floater will be large for the return of power.) To get an idea of the efficiency of conversion, reverse the process used in paddle wheel steamers.

    I'd be looking for a fairly steep stretch of stream and figuring a way to build a flume to take advantage of head rather than try to take energy out of velocity. (That would make a propeller type drive far more sensible.)
    BTPost likes this.
  7. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    This version pumps water on a slow river flow use a gear train from a bicycle, and you should be able to get the revolutions quite a bit higher.

    This one is commercially available, now, I believe, and does away with some of the permit issues. (Check your local laws, of course)
  8. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    ( would not post above, for some reason.)
  9. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    That's an Archimedes screw pump. Very clever way to move water up a couple feet, works well.
  10. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    Yes, water ,stored ,acts as a battery, and a water source. I like the idea of pumps ( of many available types) pumping water to a raised storage tank or pond. The out take from the pond would be at a controlled height and volume, to a high pressure, low flow pumphouse generator. (Pelzer wheel type) that way you get water and power. Any time you need to increase power, just open the slice gate and drop the pond level.
  11. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

  12. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    And they come in a wide variety of sizes. Paint would get rid of the bright "steal me finish" and could even be deployed below a bridge for cover. I , of course, have no connection or experience with them.
  13. riveRat

    riveRat Monkey

    Thanks for all the replies .Those designs look good. Will fab something up this week. I want to keep height to a minimum so I figure I will go long with the wheel instead of tall. Pretty much this will end up being a small pontoon boat that happens to have a water wheel on it. I am thinking paddles every 30 degrees or so. Defiantly make it so I can adjust the wheel depth easily. Guess I will make the frame for the wheel out of black pipe and paddles out of something else. lol will have to see what I have laying around but plastic makes sense to me.
  14. Snake_Doctor

    Snake_Doctor Call me Snake...

    With al BT pointed out, have you considered a wind turbine instead?
  15. GOG

    GOG Free American Monkey

    This interests me greatly. We have a year round creek right by the house and it's one of the main reasons we moved here. It can be a source of water as well as a potential power source.

    There's a company nearby that makes water turbine setups. However to buy their system for use here would run us about $12,000. and that will only charge deep cycle batteries. To actually generate power directly would run about twice that much.

    We don't have that kind of money, so I've been researching this for over a year now. I know it can be done much more reasonably, but I lack the technical knowledge and math skills to figure it out. I'm pretty handy and I think I could do the assembly, but this seems above my skill/knowledge level.
  16. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    MicroHydro is the cheapest and BEST way for sustainable Alternative Power, IF, and that is a BIG IF, you have the Physical Land and Water situation to do it. That means Head, Volume, and Knowledge. Two, out of three, doesn't get you much....
  17. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Not too sure where the 12K came from, but no matter. Your best bet is to arrange it to charge batteries anyway. Direct feed to loads is much more difficult to control with small hydro machines. The interesting numbers have to do with the installed system, dollars against capacity, as in $/watt. The key is figuring out life cycle costs, all in, including maintenance over the life of the installation. First things first, you need to know what the loads will be. After that, there's help on the Monkey.
    GOG and BTPost like this.
  18. Gopherman

    Gopherman Sometimes I Wish I Could Go Back to Sleep

    I own one one the 4k turbine generators they also work with wind, its a little more unreliable than water, but on the plus side they haven't figured out how to make us buy a permit for air Yet! [js]
    Snoozebum likes this.
  19. Dunerunner

    Dunerunner Brewery Monkey Moderator

    Build a paddle wheel that is two feet wide and four feet tall. The paddles should be placed no more than 30 degrees from each other around the hub. Attach a 26" pulley to the shaft, if you are crafty, you could use a bicycle wheel. Buy a large automotive Alternator at a salvage yard, 200 - 300 Watts #1 HIGH AMP ALTERNATOR 200-250-275-300-350 AMP***NATIONS High Amp Alternator.

    The footing for your water wheel should be concrete and at least three feet deep into the streambed to keep it from being undermined and washed out. The anchorage on the bank side of the wheel does not have to be as deep, but you want to insure the redirected flow does not cause any erosion of the supports. You may want to think about a stream diverter to direct water to your wheel. This can be done with local river stones arranged to channel the flow to your energy plant. This and the shelter for your equipment will constitute half the cost

    Arrange an idler pulley somewhere on the frame of the water wheel to allow adjusting tension of the serpentine belt.

    Buy a bank of batteries and an inverter.. Decent Deep Cycle Batteries in Group 65 will run over $200 each (you will want at least 10 batteries connected in parallel), and a good AIMS 5000 Watt True Sine Wave Inverter is about $1000.

    Your now getting free energy from your stream for the cost of constructing the water wheel, the shelter for your alternator and batteries, the battery rack and array and the inverter. My guess... ~$8,000 to $12,000 depending on your abilities and costs of permitting.

    This estimate does not take into consideration the costs of wiring, transmission transformers, distribution panels or monitoring systems.
  20. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    Permitting, for any inStream Concrete will be very problematic in this day and age...... Remember, most likely you do not "Own" the water, and maybe not even the StreamBed.... The .Gov can get very fussy about Permits, to the point of Restraining Orders, Cease and Desist Orders, and ultimately a visit from the Sheriff, with Handcuffs..... ....... YMMV....
survivalmonkey SSL seal        survivalmonkey.com warrant canary