Author Topic: My water possibilities...  (Read 4673 times)

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mofishin

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My water possibilities...
« on: July 18, 2011, 09:24:14 AM »
I built a small lake in front of my house several years ago, all this water rolling through has often made me wonder about harnessing it somehow.  It is a fairly consistent flow all summer, quite a lot more in the spring time.  I took this picture yesterday.  The culvert is 18", the water is falling about 4 1/2 feet, using a 5 gallon bucket I shoved it under the flow 6-7 times and videoed it, so I could watch and count.  It takes about 2 seconds to fill up the bucket, so figure 2.5 gal/sec is the flow.  From what I have read on here it seems like a water wheel would be a good option here (Im surely no expert) but wanted to ask those of you who know more than I do what  you think. 

The spillway to the lake comes in from the top right corner of the picture (after a decent 1.5"- 2" + rain only, the recharge area is 600+ acres) and is perpendicular to the flow of the culverts.  That presents the problem of having a LOT of water coming by, at times, within a 1' of  the bottom of the culvert, of course then the culvert is flowing an entire 18" column of water.

My present idea is to build something of steel that hinges a wheel down into  the path of the water, so that it can be raised to accomodate water flow when rains come.  Picture the rear wheel and swingarm of a motorcycle, on a bigger scale.  I would use a cheap 12V winch to raise and lower this wheel, so that the wheel's position could be adjusted as the seasonal water flow changes.  Im thinking that even when the spillway is in flood stage and near the bottom of the culverts, I will still be able to keep the wheel in the flow as the spillway itself never gets up over the culverts.  At that point it would resemble an undershot wheel, during summer the wheel would be lowered all the way down into the creek channel there, until it was flowing (nearly, without changing the direction of the wheel's rotation) "overshot" but not quite.

At present I am just beginning to get acquainted with hydropower.  To date the only thing I have done with electricity generation is build a stationary bike that turns out up to 120v dc off of some motor I picked up at the scrap yard.  It powers a sawzall or table saw or whatever pretty nicely with someone pedaling their butt off.

I have a boat dock about 50 yards from from the outflow, upon which I intend to build a completely grid free power system as a starter project.  I have gathered some of the things I will need, I have a 2000W inverter, (4000w peak) a nice big trolling motor battery, and am working on finding a big old (not working) refrigerator to house everything electrical in that is on the dock to keep it out of the weather.  Originally I was thinking I would use a couple of solar panels, but not really sure if they would be necessary considering the water flow never stops.  Im going to have to buy a charge controller either way I guess.   

Anyway, if this works well,  I intend to redo my spillway in several years (when money becomes less of a problem) by way of channelizing with concrete.  This will allow me to put a "groove" about 24" wide and 6" deep in the spillway bottom at the point where the water leaves the lake, and eliminate the culverts.  This groove would run out nearly level all the way nearly to where the  culverts empty at present, with the rest of the much wider part of the spillway dropping off at a much faster rate for the bigger flows.  The walls which will support the water race will extend past the wheel site (wheel on backside of wall) preventing the heavy flow from damaging anything.   I have a 8' steel wheel that I intend to modify by adding reinforcement and buckets- it is a natural gas pipe spool bought for 16.00 at the salvage yard- for this later project.

About the pics.  FIrst is of the flow.  Second is of the relation of the dock (red roof) to the pipe outlet.  Third is the spillway coming in from the right, fourth is a continuation on to the right out of the frame in pic 3.  Fifth is looking down the spillway, sixth is the dock.

WindriderNM

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Re: My water possibilities...
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2011, 10:16:27 AM »
An over shot water wheel would probably work best. 4 ft of head isn't very much so there isn't a lot of power available. 1hp = 550 ft pounds per sec. 1hp = about 750 watts
1 gal of water weights 8.2 pounds.
4x2x8.2=65.6ft lbs / sec
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DanG

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Re: My water possibilities...
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2011, 10:36:17 AM »
http://www.reuk.co.uk/Calculation-of-Hydro-Power.htm

Calculator claims 98 watts potential, 60 watts available - 1 meter drop, 10 litres per second..

http://www.nooutage.com/hydroele.htm#Mesuring%20Head%20&%20Flow  <-- more background
« Last Edit: July 18, 2011, 10:39:18 AM by DanG »

WindriderNM

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Re: My water possibilities...
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2011, 10:37:06 AM »
I just found this of another post The basic formula of gallons per minute times feet head divided by 10 to determine the watts output.
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mofishin

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Re: My water possibilities...
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2011, 11:24:05 AM »
Great!  Then I should have enough to what I want to do at the dock, at least.  I am curious though, are those formulas specifically for wheels?  I will look at them of course, but the thought that sprang immediately to mind was that the amount of power that I am able to produce would be dependent on the weight of the water, distance from the axis of the wheel to said water, and gearing...  not arguing at all, just need to read more I reckon....  used paint to sketch a rough/ out of scale drawing, using the wheel pictured on the link above. Somehow it looks really big,, in reality I don't think it would be very big.... but, could be wrong.  50 watts would be fine, I'd be plenty happy with that.  I have some more DC motors like the one I put on the bike, they are all a tiny bit different but close to the same. attached a pic of the bike, was thinking similar pulley set up for the water wheel using bicycle parts- connect  drive shaft off the wheel to  bicycle cranks (cut off crank arms, weld directly to stub), keep gears of bicycle intact so I can change speeds if I need to.
Attached is a pic of the bike I built, and one of the motor I am planning on using if it will work. 
« Last Edit: July 18, 2011, 12:00:08 PM by mofishin »

mofishin

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Re: My water possibilities...
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2011, 12:04:11 PM »
Also wanted to mention that I will be needing to raise the wheel as depicted because when the culverts are flowing full they both SHOOT water out as it probably falls a foot in the 110 feet it takes to get thru the dam, and the water can sometimes be 2 feet over the tops of the culverts on the other (lake) end.  Its a shame to see all that water potential "going to waste" in the springtime!
I have also thought of running an extra line (300 feet) to the house if II wouldn't lose too much...  12V in the house would be great for emergencies.
 
« Last Edit: July 18, 2011, 12:18:25 PM by mofishin »

WindriderNM

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Re: My water possibilities...
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2011, 01:48:08 PM »
300 ft is a long run for 12v. It would be better to get an inverter and use 120v to the house. A cheep inverter would work for emergency use. (a few lights and a tv or radio)

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WindriderNM

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Re: My water possibilities...
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2011, 02:00:41 PM »
It may be better to change the water wheels 180 deg. so the direction on flow would help turn to wheel. A box could be build to direct the water onto the wheel at the end of the pipe. This may eliminate the need raise the wheel at different flows.
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mofishin

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Re: My water possibilities...
« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2011, 04:05:33 PM »
Building a box does sound like a good idea windrider, thanks.  I also thought of getting one of those galvanized aprons for the end of a culvert pipe to "fan" the water out, at this point any good ideas are appreciated and needed!!  I don't really have any idea what Im doing yet... have been poring over the net all day looking at other people's designs, and seen nothing really similar to my situation.... or maybe Im just not as smart as most.  At any rate I don't want to build myself into a corner with something thats hard to maintain or is not well thought out or inefficient. Point taken about the 120V to make the run to the house.  It might be better to just put a small inverter I have in the house, and charge a battery for it at the source.  Below is the apron I was referring to.



« Last Edit: July 18, 2011, 04:09:53 PM by mofishin »

keithturtle

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Re: My water possibilities...
« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2011, 03:58:12 PM »
Good potential there.  Study some of the axial flux dynamo designs elsewhere on this board.  You can get away from the need for gearing so high, for these will produce well around 500 rpm.  V-belts = friction losses.

Breastshot waterwheels might be best for your application; the wheel must be designed for a certain range of flow- apparently the second pipe doesn't flow till the first is full, no?   There are many options you can pursue with that arrangement

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mofishin

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Re: My water possibilities...
« Reply #10 on: July 26, 2011, 11:56:49 AM »
Axial flux dynamo... thats sounds way over my head !!  ???   Im still planning.  To be able to adjust the height of the wheel to the flow, it seems, I would need to make the wheel turn toward the culvert, as you say, breastshot.  Im attaching a crappy little drawing of my plan thus far.  Im not too concerned with losing a little to inefficiency/friction- I only need so much power on the boat dock, just enough to keep the batteries charged and keep from discharging them when using several 12v appliances at once is all I need.  (electric fillet knife, RV water pump, radio, LED's, margarita mixer, etc )  

Should I just use a car alternator, the motor I have pictured, or a 12v VW/ tractor generator with a voltage regulator???

AND edit, the second pipe is slightly lower than the first, they both flow when the water table is higher, but its almost August here... driest time of the year for us.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2011, 11:59:00 AM by mofishin »

mofishin

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Re: My water possibilities...
« Reply #11 on: July 26, 2011, 12:03:38 PM »
forgot the pic  ::)

TomW

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Re: My water possibilities...
« Reply #12 on: July 26, 2011, 12:22:59 PM »
Your Photo:

Join in an alternative forum at Anotherpower.com

mofishin

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Re: My water possibilities...
« Reply #13 on: March 06, 2013, 07:32:00 PM »
Still have not done anything but think about this one... except I did pick up some 12" dia., .330 wall steel pipe in 35' lengths, and put flanges on them for bolting together, and bought a 12" gate valve.  I only recently got back home from being on the road for over a year boilermaking, so I am primed for workin the farm.  I went out yesterday and got a more accurate measurement of the amount of head I have.  One thing that happened while I was gone is that the beavers built a nice dam around the intake of my culverts, so the lake's level is now 18" higher than before.  Culverts don't last forever, so i decided to, when it gets drier this summer, bury the 12" pipe and excavate/ pour concrete supports for an 8' overshot water wheel.  There is presently with it being early spring about 20 gal/sec coming out of those two culverts!  Anyway, just thought I'd give y'all an update.

mofishin 

XeonPony

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Re: My water possibilities...
« Reply #14 on: March 07, 2013, 06:31:19 AM »
Look up the Bankie turbine, this apears to be the perfect aplication here for it, and when in high flow switch to an ac generator and run AC to the house using a step up transformer, for example I run 240v off my turbine and drop it to 120 in the house, then run every thing off the AC including the battery charger!

at my old spot I loved winter as the batteries never got used unles the francis style runner got blocked up (That stopped happening when I got off my rear and put an intake screen in!).

Lets face it, why design for the low flow spend your bigger investment in the winter flows and toss togeather a basic unit for running the lights and what have you for the dock! With LED lights it doesn't take much now to power em.
Ignorance is not bliss, You may not know there is a semie behind you but you'll still be a hood ornimant!

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XeonPony

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Re: My water possibilities...
« Reply #15 on: March 07, 2013, 06:36:11 AM »
Still have not done anything but think about this one... except I did pick up some 12" dia., .330 wall steel pipe in 35' lengths, and put flanges on them for bolting together, and bought a 12" gate valve.  I only recently got back home from being on the road for over a year boilermaking, so I am primed for workin the farm.  I went out yesterday and got a more accurate measurement of the amount of head I have.  One thing that happened while I was gone is that the beavers built a nice dam around the intake of my culverts, so the lake's level is now 18" higher than before.  Culverts don't last forever, so i decided to, when it gets drier this summer, bury the 12" pipe and excavate/ pour concrete supports for an 8' overshot water wheel.  There is presently with it being early spring about 20 gal/sec coming out of those two culverts!  Anyway, just thought I'd give y'all an update.

mofishin

Make the intake for that run a bit lower then the culverts, or preferably rais the intake of the culverts by a foot then put your penstock intake where they where, then make it extend a couple feet into the lake with a good instake screen 4 times the diameter of the pipe. with flows like that you are certainly geting into the use full range of a bankie
Ignorance is not bliss, You may not know there is a semie behind you but you'll still be a hood ornimant!

Nothing fails like prayer, Two hands clasped in work will achieve more in a minute then a billion will in a melenia in prayer. In other words go out and do some real good by helping!

mofishin

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Re: My water possibilities...
« Reply #16 on: April 05, 2013, 03:27:28 PM »
Much appreciated input XeonPony, and you have figured out the plan!  I did some re-measuring and figured out that by doing this I can get as much as 8' of head from the new location.  The culverts were originally done in a pinch, and aren't going to last forever anyway.

I have been toying with the idea of making a float on an outrigger to attach to the intake end of the culverts, where as the water rose to a certain level the "caps" of the culverts would be lifted by the float.  This would keep the culverts capped off until about the time high flows started going out the spillway.  Current plan calls for waiting for driest part of summer and lowest flows to install the new penstock.  The beavers did me a "favor"  and built a nice little dam around both culverts this winter, which at one point had the entire lake 18" above normal... it was at this point that I noticed that what I need to do is put in the new penstock with its topside right about where the bottom of the existing culverts are now, and build the outrigger plugs (which would replace the beaver dam!) to raise the water.  Then my new penstock would be a couple feet under water. Also, as you noted, I will extend the penstock further out from shore and in deeper water, so the beavers can't build against it.  Bright side of having such a healthy beaver population, is that if food ever gets scarce, I can look forward to a new "crop" of beavers (15-20 of them) annually.  The dozens of muskrats and otters is just a bonus ;) .