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Author Topic: Micro Stored Hydro  (Read 4513 times)
heatherhopper
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« on: August 02, 2018, 12:09:12 PM »

I originally posted some questions about Hydro potential here:

https://www.navitron.org.uk/forum/index.php/topic,26194.0.html

In the intervening time my focus has changed a bit (this years weather extremes are not new or news to us!) and any such project would be rather more diverse in it's aims - power supply now has no more priority than water supply in our little off-grid world. Along with a small Hydro generator the aim would be to include elements of stock watering, irrigation and domestic supply. There is some other, indirectly associated, beneficial potential such as Turbine relocation and shelter belt construction. Such ambitions unfortunately start with a new hole in the ground.

I would be interested in any experiences of the practicalities of reservoir/lake/dam (label it how you will) construction that people have. Scale could be somewhere up to 250k litres total capacity and would be essentially "seasonal" i.e. short run power in winter, extraction supply in summer. Replenishment and level control I have yet to complete assessing but we have some experience with "pond" construction adjacent so are quite familiar with the groundwater, water table and drainage patterns. There is also some existing "infrastructure" that could be utilised. I am well aware of all the possible complications with regard to permissions, authorities etc so it is really the fundamentals of construction and utilisation of the hole I am interested in at this stage - in particular lining (clay) and discharge control - no point in complicating a feasibility study. This would be a DIY endeavour so no consultants or contractors involved. I do have some practical advice/help on tap.

billi - I hope you are reading this. It would be very similar to your stored hydro project. I have looked through the old posts but these seem to concentrate on the hydro generator part (which I am quite comfortable with) and I could only find a few passing references to, and pics of, the storage. How did the construction go? Basic considerations? Mistakes?

Silly vanity project? OTT Doomsday project? Very probably, but times they are a changing and I have no intention of running back to what passes for civilisation with my off-grid tail between my legs because I didn't investigate digging a hole when I could!
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billi
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« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2018, 08:35:29 AM »

..... well   , well   first i had a dream , a childhood dream of having a lake ...

secondly i had a valley on the land  with a trickle charge  of rainwater runing down of the mountain ....

So building a dam  was a easy one  ,  got a 22 ton digger in , driver still is amazed about that project , when i meet him at the builders supply shop ,  lined the bank  with a  geotextile and dug out the clay of the ground to built it ,   lake its approx 40x 50 m  deepest spot about 3 meters  https://www.navitron.org.uk/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=26957.0;attach=11415;image

At the time i  thought will have about  100 kWh  capacity ,   

I  meassurwed  the head   and  came up with  22 meters  ,  layed a 400 meter 110mm  pipe to the AC  turbine and a  cable running back to the house , ordered a 300 watt turbine from my canadian  PV and windpower supplier  , same make as    most of those chineese turbines , but he gave me a  1100 watt turbine  wackoold whistlie garden   , anyway  first run gave me 750 watts    so  not completly what i expected , but it workes 

It was a childhood dream and  became my best backupgenerator i have  ,  have not been at the turbine since years , just open the gate valve  and then it charges my lead acid battery   of feeds the house

 would have liked to have a lower lake  and pump back ,  but  that went over the top of my childhead  Smiley   as well did the automatic start and stop of the turbine .... 

 , people  are importing water in huge lorries   nowadays  in my area ,    good to have this lake full


If  you like  , then post a few more details   of land,  soil and waterinlet  , head ...

 garden

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« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2018, 08:57:17 AM »

....just take gooogle away , but thats me


* lakeme Kopie.jpg (188.02 KB, 734x351 - viewed 538 times.)
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dickster
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« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2018, 10:11:58 AM »

We like, pics please
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biff
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« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2018, 10:36:34 AM »

  It was a great project Billi,
                    And one that gave you independence with the lake always there as backup. I think you put fish into it as well,?
                           Biff
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camillitech
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« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2018, 10:56:52 AM »

Didn't have the suitable geography here to make a large lake so used one a mile away. It involved laying 800m of penstock and 800m of armoured cable but was well worth the effort. Inspired by Billi to use it as my 'back up generator' but cannot come up with a simple solution to switch it on and off easily. The turbine itself is half a mile away. Instead I just run it a 800w continuously in the winter. Ideally though I would prefer to be able to run it at a couple of Kw for shorter periods (like Billi does) to charge my batteries whenever.



That's some of my 800m penstock snaking over the hill https://lifeattheendoftheroad.wordpress.com/2011/page/53/ the turbine is fed from the small lake. The large one unfortunately is not on my land and slightly lower :-(
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http://lifeattheendoftheroad.wordpress.com/

'Off grid' since 1985,  Proven 2.5kW, Proven 6kW direct heating, SI6.OH, 800ah Rolls, 4.75kW PV ,4xTS45, Lister HR2 12kW, , Powerspout pelton, Stream Engine turgo, 60 x Navitron toobs and a 1500lt store. Outback VFX3048 and 950ah forklifts for backup,
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« Reply #6 on: August 03, 2018, 12:17:39 PM »

it was and still is a facinating  thought to think about waterpower ,    how many sleeping pills did it save , tons , to think of l/s   head  , pipe diameters ....   cable size , magnets and alternaters ....  gate vaulves 

i remember the first time, i opened the gate valve  about 350 meter long 110mm pipe  filled with water ....    when i shut the gate valve  those 350 meters created a vacuum  that  squezzed  that pipe flat  like a lemon soleland and  a big bang  hysteria

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camillitech
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« Reply #7 on: August 03, 2018, 07:25:37 PM »

it was and still is a facinating  thought to think about waterpower ,    how many sleeping pills did it save , tons , to think of l/s   head  , pipe diameters ....   cable size , magnets and alternaters ....  gate vaulves 

i remember the first time, i opened the gate valve  about 350 meter long 110mm pipe  filled with water ....    when i shut the gate valve  those 350 meters created a vacuum  that  squezzed  that pipe flat  like a lemon soleland and  a big bang  hysteria



Aye Billi, I remember my experiments with how much pressure 'Polypipe Civils' would stand, they went bang too :-) :-)

https://lifeattheendoftheroad.wordpress.com/2011/03/16/do-not-try-this-at-home-2/
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http://lifeattheendoftheroad.wordpress.com/

'Off grid' since 1985,  Proven 2.5kW, Proven 6kW direct heating, SI6.OH, 800ah Rolls, 4.75kW PV ,4xTS45, Lister HR2 12kW, , Powerspout pelton, Stream Engine turgo, 60 x Navitron toobs and a 1500lt store. Outback VFX3048 and 950ah forklifts for backup,
knighty
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« Reply #8 on: August 04, 2018, 01:23:46 PM »

Paul, can you not rig up a charge controller that calls for a generator start... wire that to a relay to open a normally closed valve just before the hydro turbine?

so instead of starting a generator it tuns the water on?

you can get valves which are made to open/close slowly... or you could use a 1/4 turn valve joined to a 12v or 24v actuator?
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camillitech
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« Reply #9 on: August 04, 2018, 10:41:02 PM »

Paul, can you not rig up a charge controller that calls for a generator start... wire that to a relay to open a normally closed valve just before the hydro turbine?

so instead of starting a generator it tuns the water on?

you can get valves which are made to open/close slowly... or you could use a 1/4 turn valve joined to a 12v or 24v actuator?

Hi Knighty, I've thought of hunners of schemes but the problems are :- 1, site is pretty inaccessible. 2, no power down there other than 600VDC. 3, it's got 70m of head and needs to be closed very slowly so  motorised 1/4 turn valve is out of the question unless there's some other means of preventing 'water hammer'. 4, it's half a mile from my batteries and high voltage DC cable from turbine to transformer.

Now I'm sure all these issues could be overcome, separate battery charged from PV or hydro, wireless control, large expansion vessel or 70m standpipe/relief valve but it's not a high priority, yet  fingers crossed!

Cheers, Paul 
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'Off grid' since 1985,  Proven 2.5kW, Proven 6kW direct heating, SI6.OH, 800ah Rolls, 4.75kW PV ,4xTS45, Lister HR2 12kW, , Powerspout pelton, Stream Engine turgo, 60 x Navitron toobs and a 1500lt store. Outback VFX3048 and 950ah forklifts for backup,
heatherhopper
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« Reply #10 on: August 05, 2018, 11:59:25 AM »

Quote
..... well   , well   first i had a dream , a childhood dream of having a lake ...

I know what you mean billi but it is less of a dream for me and more an attempt at future proofing. We are in the general rain shadow of the Pennines here but more specifically our own little micro climate - best characterised as wetter in winter and drier in summer than average and more susceptible to extremes. We see the same long term natural cycles as everyone but there is certainly a year on year increase in our annual "drought" period. CC is clearly the background culprit but there are other reasons I'm sure. This year the drought is actually less pronounced for us than the last couple due entirely to the siginificant dump of snow at the end of the winter. Slow melt snow is the most effective restorer of water table levels I have found. Domestically we have increased storage in recent years and are usually ok, albeit with some occasional end of season top-up from the well, but overall the need for broader solutions is increasing. A large body of water could provide long term security on a number of fronts but I really am only in the scoping stage at the moment. Could end up dropping some, or all, of the ambitions as fundamental flaws and costs become apparent. flyingpig

I have been playing around with the hydro generator idea for a couple of years, seems the best RE option by far - even if only as an occasional booster. Installation (subject to a couple of caveats) of one for non-continuous, winter only generation is possible (I think) without a new hole but at a distance. I have acquired a small high head unit (postage only - many thanks to our forum hosts genuflect) to play with but the potential for a wider water project closer to home has taken precedence. This could eliminate the caveats and allow for different type generator installations. A few kWh on tap (so to speak) during the winter would be the modest aim although I would obviously like more.

Quote
If  you like  , then post a few more details   of land,  soil and waterinlet  , head ...

Site would be  a plateau area on steeply sloping, semi-improved, poor grazing land. Available area would probably be a maximum 60x20m. Catchment is not particularly extensive since this is already at 430m anyway.

Soil is very roughly:
Slightly peaty top soil to around 0.3m
Heavy clay to around 2m
Clay "shale"  below that, depth unknown. This is my crude, and possibly entirely inaccurate, identification - I really need to confirm.
This is all based on our adjacent excavations and quite likely much more variable in reality. Digging a few more holes would be needed to confirm the uniformity I am assuming.

There are no surface watercourses. There are numerous random upwellings (I am reluctant to call them springs) mostly outside of summer but also following any high rainfall period. In my simple mind this is the aspect that would determine lining type and coverage and probably rules out a manufactured solution. A simple hole in this position will fill and overflow (quite significantly) during the wetter season and slowly seep/evaporate in summer. The winter excess from our domestic supply could easily be directed into any new hole. I do not have a number to put on this but it is often a nuisance and becomes problematic if  the inflow is restricted so re-directing it would be a bonus.

There is some very old land drainage in place - the extent and condition of this is largely unknown. There are no records and no surviving experiences of the history but I have some familiarity having come across and "used" it previously.

Water table (saturated level) is anything from winter highs around -10cm to around -2.5m at the end of a very dry summer. I have been tracking this using water levels in three wells (one immediately adjacent to the possible site).

At the moment I am mostly looking at the practicalities of discharge control (on the assumption the hole can be dug, filled and hold water!). Early thoughts but I envisage a riser feeding a discharge bund from where different flow rates and destinations can be controlled. AC power easily provided at this point.

Head for a turbine is, I suppose, a variable depending on delivery method, type and siting. The obvious position for a turbine is 200m downhill with an elevation loss of -21m. This fits nicely with overflow, stock watering and some existing "drainage infrastructure".

Paul, you are indeed blessed to have an existing body of water.  I don't even have my own digger. Sad

I will try and post some relevant photos but seem to have a bit of trouble doing this in recent times!

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« Reply #11 on: August 09, 2018, 09:57:11 PM »

sounds good ,  Smiley  i guess i would dig down to the clay layer  with a spade and harvest a  kilo or two and built a bowl and fill with water and see how the water is contained

 if there is a layer that lets water through  under the sealing clay,   then  you should think of it   , there are clay pouder based sealers to be rotevated into the subsoil , called bentonite ,  used as well on landfills to built a  waterproof layer  , expands upto 6 times when wet
Post some photos ....


billi
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heatherhopper
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« Reply #12 on: August 14, 2018, 11:49:16 AM »

Quote
sounds good ,  Smiley  i guess i would dig down to the clay layer  with a spade and harvest a  kilo or two and built a bowl and fill with water and see how the water is contained

 if there is a layer that lets water through  under the sealing clay,   then  you should think of it   , there are clay pouder based sealers to be rotevated into the subsoil , called bentonite ,  used as well on landfills to built a  waterproof layer  , expands upto 6 times when wet

We have previously played around with the clay subsoil with some success. This was a very crude effort at digging and puddling a poultry pond (small at about 6mx4mx2m) re-using the excavated clay. The result holds water quite well although it is certainly partially permeable and loses level slowly over the summer. Several reasons - the rather less than comprehensive manual application and the subsequent determination of the poultry to dabble it all away being the most obvious. However I also suspect that the very bottom which is into the "clay shale" layer is more permeable than the puddled sides - at the time of construction we just pummelled this into a sloppy mess and refilled in a hurry. In a very dry summer such as this it can eventually seep/evaporate out to a sticky puddle but regains a level quickly after any significant rainfall. It overflows more or less continually for the other 6-8 months of the year (in a controlled manner). My ambition would be to have any future hole behave similarly but with rather less seepage.

I wish to collect what is essentially just surface/groundwater migrating downhill as naturally and effortlessly as possible while also having some control of that ongoing migration. Not sure if that is even practical on a large scale but an entirely impermeable hole lining will clearly not work. This rules out a synthetic lining which would be too expensive anyway and may also have a tendency to "float" unless there is some built-in diversion drainage which would sort of defeat the object.

I have looked at bentonite but the price for processed material is prohibitive and less refined "puddling clay" in bulk seems a more reasonable option - if I do actually need to import anything.

There are certainly going to be compromises in constructing this type of hole. I'm sure I haven't thought of even a fraction of the issues yet. Several years project if it gets off the ground.


The potential area for the hole



The general area - hole site immediately to the left of the trees



Previous excavation sort of showing the top and sub soil layers separated out a bit

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« Reply #13 on: August 17, 2018, 09:23:45 PM »

 To be honnest , i would figure out capacity od water ... mean possible volume    and then possible head   hights diffrence to turbine ,  figure out how much kWh are in my storrage pond ......... and think about refilling time  ,

i was doing that because i like storing  water  norfolk and draining ponds  , but i would not have done that digging   without  the knowing it will fill up in a foreseeable time

Billi
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heatherhopper
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« Reply #14 on: August 20, 2018, 12:33:28 PM »

You are quite right billi, those are critical considerations - if the construction was primarily for a hydro generator and certainly if that generator was to be anything but occasional "boost" or "back-up". As it is I am equally interested in utilising the storage of water for other, rather more mundane, purposes - the generator would be a bonus.

I would only be wanting to recharge what is a relatively small battery bank as an alternative to diesel genset operation. This requirement would be mostly in winter when PV contribution is often irrelevant. For example 6-10kWh in a single discharge period would be more than sufficient. I am sure refill rate would not allow discharge every day other than in heavy rainfall periods and this is an acceptable compromise since there are few periods when diesel is burned for several days at a time. During the summer storage and discharge would be mostly reserved for direct water uses and power demand is much lower and supply usually excessive.

I am not sure how I can estimate refill rate with any confidence without digging a series of test holes on the site. surface/groundwater does not migrate in a consistent pattern.

For a more specific hydro installation I would be better pursuing the other options that exist with a fairly consistent and verifiable water flow (in winter at least). I have not convinced myself this route is worth the effort and cost.

Neither route would be financially sound. We cope perfectly well as things stand and an awfullot of diesel would need to be burned to give any kind of payback. As I said initially this is probably more of a vanity project and were it not for an obviously changing climate I would not even be considering it.


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