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Author Topic: Future Hydro potential  (Read 4825 times)
heatherhopper
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« on: December 18, 2015, 12:00:57 PM »

With a view to our all round reliability of power generation I have been looking at the potential for adding some Hydro into the mix. My interest is around the possibility of utilising an existing "field drainage system" which has some convenient "insertion" points. I am satisfied that there are potential head and flow rates sufficient for further consideration of various types of generator. Flow is questionable in drier periods but the need is largely for a winter addition anyway. Even potential generation well below 1kWh for seasonal periods makes it a runner since there is no specific power or payback requirement. There is a limit on the capital available and it would need to be self install so small it would likely be anyway.
Much more mapping and monitoring to be done and any consequential stuff to be considered (this would be a "discreet" install though) before any positive action.
Has anyone looked into something similar and is there an obvious practical issue with tapping into such a source that I need to think about before putting any more effort in?   
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noah
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« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2015, 12:24:41 PM »

A small waterwheel is very low tech - and you can always pretend it`s a `garden feature`.
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guydewdney
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« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2015, 09:54:12 PM »

what sort if head and flow are you talking? waterwheels are high flow, low head, pelton turbines are high head, low flow...... and a hell of a lot smaller....
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heatherhopper
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« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2015, 12:00:41 PM »

Head and flow are something of a movable feast depending on where and how I could tap into the system. Maximum would be something like 10-15m head and/or 20l/s flow (although the latter is significantly higher in wet conditions). Imagine if you will an extensive drainage system with several junction points, diversions, overflows and 4-6" outflow pipes all on a quite steeply sloping hillside. Still to determine the full extent of the sources since it is all lost in the mists of time and some of it probably originates in the "glories" of a bygone industrial era.
Pelton type was my first thought but I like the idea of a waterwheel. Not too well up on Hydro so at this stage just looking at the potential of the source and the possible problems of utilising it.
Sad thing is that this area is rich in very obvious Hydro potential (in some places virtually on a plate as there have been working mills here historically) but there is no will (or I guess more importantly incentive) for the landowners to exploit it. Often brings to mind the real potential for creating local micro-grids which could be net (and quite significant) exporters of RE to the main grid - dream on though.
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AndrewE
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« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2015, 12:17:13 PM »

I think there must have been thoughts about the more extensive use of hydro (scoping studies?)a few years ago because there are quite a few documents available, apparently commissioned by county councils.
Here's one:
https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0ahUKEwjsw-qM7ufJAhUBGRQKHQf2BAgQFggkMAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fconsult.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk%2Ffile%2F2790436&usg=AFQjCNFIgyBLOUO2CaIeek0qtp5oAr7Fbg&cad=rja

Its just a shame that so little has been done...  Loads of watermill sites in public parks etc that could easily accommodate a generating station of some kind.
A

 
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regen
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« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2015, 02:39:10 PM »

" Maximum would be something like 10-15m head and/or 20l/s flow "

Which is the same as 20-30m head and 10lps or 40 to 60m head and 5lps or 80 to 120m head and 2.5lps. High head and lower flow equals small turbine but also requires more pipe but the pipe is of a smaller diameter. A 50m drop at 2.5lps would give around a kw per hour.

Best to check the flow rates at different times at different elevations and find which gives the most even flow at unto say 3lps and then size for about 1kw output max which can be achieved with a single small pelton using 78mm ID penstock.

If the flow is very variable upto this figure then don't even consider it unless

a you have pots of money for dealing automatically with the variable flow

or b plenty of time to monitor the system and change jets as required.

There are a lot of costs associated with rivers authority planning etc

Regen
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renewablejohn
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« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2015, 04:25:07 PM »

I think there must have been thoughts about the more extensive use of hydro (scoping studies?)a few years ago because there are quite a few documents available, apparently commissioned by county councils.
Here's one:
https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0ahUKEwjsw-qM7ufJAhUBGRQKHQf2BAgQFggkMAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fconsult.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk%2Ffile%2F2790436&usg=AFQjCNFIgyBLOUO2CaIeek0qtp5oAr7Fbg&cad=rja

Its just a shame that so little has been done...  Loads of watermill sites in public parks etc that could easily accommodate a generating station of some kind.
A

 

You can thank the EA for the lack pf progress. Unless you can keep it under the radar its never worth the red tape to install. Maybe with all this flooding in Cumbria people will suddenly realise how inept EA actually are at managing rivers and we end up with driainage boards which are more into water management and the beneficial role hydro schemes can play in water management.
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heatherhopper
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« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2015, 10:35:20 AM »

Regen - that sounds like a sound way to proceed. I may have been overcomplicating the possibilities and will try to identify some specific points to monitor. I am confident there are at least two points where there is a reliable 5lps flow (at least for the 7-8 months or so I would be looking to operate). Don't have pots of money but do have time. I'll use the latter to get some more definitive information.

AndrewE - interesting that studies have been completed. The one you have linked shows just how unimaginatively such issues are treated though. Almost all the sites surveyed are former Mills of some kind which could be "reopened". This does not really cover the true potential of our general water resources to fill a "baseload" energy position when coupled with wind and PV at a local level - a direction I would like to see taken, it would not solve the national supply issues but it could make a very significant contribution.

I agree with renewablejohn - the EA, and their (assumed?) brief, are certainly a block on any kind of national progress with Hydro. 
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Off grid AC coupled, 6kW Proven, 2.8kW PV, SMA SI/SB/WB Inverters, 4x576ah Rolls batteries @ 24v, 25kW Biomass Boiler, Wood Stoves, Spring/Well water. Sorry planet - I did try.
AndrewE
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« Reply #8 on: December 24, 2015, 09:04:49 PM »

Well, it was quite a few years ago, and at least they spotted that all the by-pass weirs and channels on the canals are potential generating sites (when boats aren't using the locks.) 

...aren't pre-exisiting mill sites likely to be the low-hanging fruit?

Shame about the "E" A
A
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