ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Off-Grid Living Solutions - Micro Hydro

Updated on August 1, 2015

William George Armstrong, 1st Baron Armstrong and Cragside

Cragside the private residence of William George Armstrong, 1st Baron Armstrong, 26 November 1810 – 27 December 1900) was the first house to be lit by electricity in 1870.

The electricity at Cragside was generated from a Siemens dynamos driven by water from the artificial lakes. Cragside was, and still is, a spectacular residence.

Hydro electricity is produced as the water turns turbines which in turn drive the alternator (dynamo in old speak). The falling water is the prime mover.

Although Baron Armstrong build a small hydro a little close to 150 years ago, mini hydro is as much required to bring electricity to remote areas in South East Asia and Africa today. There are places which are remote from the grid and without innovative application of technology will continue in darkness.

This article looks at the possibility of using mini hydro to alleviate energy poverty is rural areas.



Hydro Power Generation

Energy from water power
Energy from water power | Source

What Is Mini Hydro

Small hydro or mini hydro refer to small scale hydro electricity generation for small communities.

By the turn of the 19th electricity generation was taking root everywhere and the convention was to build large scale power stations using public funds or funded through private investments. Such facilities as public transportation, water supply and electricity were often centralized, and are still are.

The imperative of history is upon us; most rural areas in Africa and other Third World countries are still without electrical power. The result had been massive deforestation.

So important is small hydro that a whole new industry has emerged to carter to the needs of the new consumer.

It becomes important to define terms so that practitioners have the same perspective when discussing these matters.

Small hydro - often is an umbrella term used to define hydro power stations that generate electricity not exceeding 10MW, as expected these definitions vary.

Mini hydro are those that generate power between 100kW and 1MW.

Micro hydro generates between 5kW to 100kW - this puts Baron Armstrong's mammoth plant in the micro hydro class.

Those who are looking for really small scale are in the range of 5kW and are classified as pico hydro.

Electricity from water

Boulder Dam, Las Vegas
Boulder Dam, Las Vegas | Source

Water is the driving force of all life.

— Leonardo da Vinci

Water

Water plays such an important role in our way of life that we can fail to see through the mist
Water plays such an important role in our way of life that we can fail to see through the mist | Source

The Physics of Hydro Power

The Sun provides the energy that we derive from hydro power through its effect on the water cycle.

In (very) brief, the water cycle is a process whereby water evaporates from water bodies, goes up into the atmosphere before it condense and falls as rainfall or snowfall.

Water will percolate to ground and some runs off the surface along water ways back to water bodies.

Water that flows in water ways (rivers, streams, brooks, rivulets) do so from points at higher ground to lower plains.

At any two points the waters loses potential energy and gains kinetic energy. In physics potential energy is described as energy possessed by an object due to its relative position in a force field. Thus;

Potential energy of an object sitting at point A as viewed by an observer at point B is:

PAB = mg(hA - hB) where hA and hB are the heights of points A and B as measured from a common datum.

This is the potential energy that can be converted to electricity as a body of water of mass m falls from a higher level to a lower level. What remains is to device machines that can harness this energy. All this was done in last 150 years.


Where are Mini Hydro Plants Built

By definition mini hydro are of the order of 10MW and although is classified as such this is a very huge investment that can sustain a small town with a respectable cottage industry base. Moreover such a plant can be grid connected.

Investment in a mini hydro is huge in comparison to what ordinary people can be looking at when they say 'off-grid life'. So indeed for this hub, we must be talking about micro hydro and pico hydro.

These are people who can be interested in micro hydro and pico hydro:

Three Gorges Dam in China produces 22.5GW, i.e. 22,500MW, and a pico hydro in Vietnam produces in the order of 5kW. Such is the beauty of nature that both these facilities serve the interest of the owners.

— Author

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)