# MICRO HYDROPOWER. Exercise 1 What is micro hydropower and how does it work?

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1 MICRO HYDROPOWER Exercise 1 What is micro hydropower and how does it work? Read the following sentences and build the correct sequence. In order to help you there s a short summary of the whole content at the beginning : a)hydropower is actually one of the renewable sources of energy with the advantage of a steady production. Usually when we talk about it we think of the big dams, but something is now changing and we are going oftener and oftener towards small scale applications. Moreover while sun is not always shining and wind not always blowing, hydropower is produced steadily around the clock. What is new to most people is the idea that this same concept will work on a smaller and even individual scale: we are speaking of Hydropower plants capture the energy of falling water to generate electricity. The concept of generating electricity from water has been around for a long time and there are many large hydro-electric facilities around the world. A turbine converts the energy of falling water into mechanical energy Hydropower is a renewable energy source because it is replenished by snow and rainfall. As long as the rain falls, we won t run out of that energy source Micro Hydropower (from hydro meaning water and micro meaning small scale). It refers to electrical energy that comes from the force of moving water used to power a household or small village. Then an alternator converts the mechanical energy from the turbine into electrical energy. b)two factors combine in giving the most of electricity production in a hydro power plant (head and flow), The farther the water falls, the more power it has. Volume of water falling (Flow): more water falling through the turbine will produce more power. The amount of water available depends on the volume of water at the source. A river with twice the amount of flowing water as another river can produce twice as much energy. Flow volume is usually measured in litres per second or m 3 per minute) The distance the water travels horizontally is consequential only in expense of the system and friction losses. Head is usually measured in metres or feet (1 foot = 0,3048 m) How far the water falls (Head): generally, the distance the water falls depends on the steepness of the terrain the water is moving across, or the height of a dam the water is stored behind. The amount of electricity a hydropower plant produces is a combination of two factors: In other words, water falling twice as far has twice as much energy. It is important to note we are only talking about the vertical distance the water falls.

2 Power is also directly proportional to river flow, or flow volume. In fact, the power of falling water is directly proportional to the distance it falls. c) and different kinds of turbine can be chosen according to the different values of such factors. The reaction turbine, as the name implies, is turned by reactive force rather than a direct push or impulse. The turbine blades turn in reaction to the pressure of the water falling on them. The power produced by an impulse turbine comes entirely from the momentum of the water (m*v) hitting the turbine runners. In addition to that you have also: Submersible Propeller Water Turbines. These turbines are the least efficient of the three styles, but also the simplest design For high head and low flow volume sites: impulse turbines are the most efficient choice. A propeller mounted on the front of the turbine is attached to an alternator inside the main turbine housing Propeller style generators work well for locations with a fast moving, relatively deep stream or river, where a water diversion system is not possible, or when mounted on a moving boat. For Micro Hydro systems, this translates into two categories of turbines: For low head and high flow volume sites: a reaction turbine is the best choice. Reaction turbines can operate on heads as low as 2 feet= 0,6096 metres, but require much higher flow rates than an impulse turbine. This water creates a direct push or impulse on the blades, and thus such turbines are called impulse turbines. When submerged in a fast moving water source, the propeller is rotated by the force of the passing water Key Exercise 1 a)hydropower is a renewable energy source because it is replenished by snow and rainfall. As long as the rain falls, we won t run out of that energy source. Moreover while sun is not always shining and wind not always blowing, hydropower is produced steadily around the clock. The concept of generating electricity from water has been around for a long time and there are many large hydro-electric facilities around the world. What is new to most people is the idea that this same concept will work on a smaller and even individual scale: we are speaking ofmicro Hydropower (from hydro meaning water and micro meaning small scale). It refers to electrical energy that comes from the force of moving water used to power a household or small village. Hydropower plants capture the energy of falling water to generate electricity. A turbine converts the energy of falling water into mechanical energy. Then an alternator converts the mechanical energy from the turbine into electrical energy. b)the amount of electricity a hydropower plant produces is a combination of two factors: 1 How far the water falls (Head): generally, the distance the water falls depends on the steepness of the terrain the water is moving across, or the height of a dam the water is stored behind. The farther the water falls, the more power it has. In fact, the power of falling water is directly proportional to the distance it falls. In other words, water falling twice as far has twice as much energy. It is important to note we are only talking about the vertical distance the water falls. The distance the water travels horizontally is consequential only in expense of the system and friction losses. Head is usually measured in metres or feet (1 foot = 0,3048 mt) 2 Volume of water falling (Flow): more water falling through the turbine will produce more power. The amount of water available depends on the volume of water at the source. Power is also directly proportional to river flow, or flow volume. A river with twice the amount of flowing water as another river can produce twice as much energy. Flow volume is usually measured in litres per second or m 3 per minute. c)for Micro Hydro systems, this translates into two categories of turbines:

3 For high head and low flow volume sites: impulse turbines are the most efficient choice. The power produced by an impulse turbine comes entirely from the momentum of the water (m*v) hitting the turbine runners. This water creates a direct push or impulse on the blades, and thus such turbines are called impulse turbines. For low head and high flow volume sites: a reaction turbine is the best choice. The reaction turbine, as the name implies, is turned by reactive force rather than a direct push or impulse. The turbine blades turn in reaction to the pressure of the water falling on them. Reaction turbines can operate on heads as low as 2 feet= 0,6096 metres, but require much higher flow rates than an impulse turbine. In addition to these you have also: Submersible Propeller Water Turbines- These turbines are the least efficient of the three styles, but also the simplest design. A propeller mounted on the front of the turbine is attached to an alternator inside the main turbine housing. When submerged in a fast moving water source, the propeller is rotated by the force of the passing water. Propeller style generators work well for locations with a fast moving, relatively deep stream or river, where a water diversion system is not possible, or when mounted on a moving boat.

4 Exercise2 Comparing different models of micro hydro turbines, excerpting info from ads Scan through the following ads from ABS Alaskan Inc Micro Hydro turbines catalogue in Sheet1 ( ) and fill in a comparative table with the main characteristics of each turbine. Table 1 - Comparing Micro Hydro Turbines Model Type * 1 Head ( m ) Flow (lt/sec) Best site characteristics Output (W) Price Shipment Extra needs / costs Contact/website * 1 Impulse, Reaction, Propeller

5 Sheet 1

6

7

8

9 Exercise 3 Matching sites and turbine models (in groups, plenary following) Read the following descriptions of potential sites for micro hydro power generation and match each of them with the most suitable kind of water turbine (see Sheet 1 Exercise 2). Discuss with your partners and state your reasons writing a few sentences. Could it be that any of the sites is not a suitable one for a micro power plant? Why? Explain briefly. A) Often enough mountain huts are settled near torrents or water springs. Suppose the water jump is 4 m with a relatively tiny sprout (0,3 minutes to fill a 1 lt bottle) B) As water falls through mountain water ducts to reach the taps of houses in the villages, gravitational potential energy is forever lost. By fitting small micro hydro turbines into the pipes, some of this energy could be salvaged and turned into electrical energy for single households. We can estimate the head from 5 to 10 m at least and a pipe cross section of 60 cm. C) At the bottom of the valley the once wild torrent becomes a river: larger, slower, deeper. Jumps are no more than 2,50 m high but as large as the whole river bed. D) Many towns in the Alps and in Germany (see Augsburg) have kilometres of fast running narrow water canals crossing the city centre. E) On the Italian Appenines you can still find places where trout is bred. This kind of fish can t survive in even minimally polluted water so a constant supply of fresh and clean water is needed. This is why in trout ponds there s always running water and you often see small waterfalls of about 0,65 to 1 m high either bringing water in into or out of the pond. F) Venice is famous for being built on the water: canals take the place of streets, boats substitute cars. Unfortunately water in the canals is quite still and not really deep. But as you travel by vaporetto or motor boat, instead of a romantic gondola, the relative speed of the water, which is equal to the boat one but in the opposite direction, could be worth considering for power generation.

10 Exercise 4 Scanning the market for best offers and state of the art 1. Surf the Net for any other firms manufacturing micro hydro turbines, particularly in Europe and in your own country. 2. Complete Table 1 with this additional info. Present to your fellows and compare your findings. 3. Would you change something in Exercise 3 with this updated table? Exercise 5 Advertising Design an A4 leaflet advertising the best micro turbine ever to be implemented in your local area. Remember that your aim is both to give technical info and to convince potential buyers. Exercise 6 Searching for potential sites Try to think of any other potential waterpower site in or around your town. Make a prediction about flow and head (just a rough estimate) and give a brief description of the site characteristics. Suggest A) the most efficient water turbine model for that site (with a detailed motivation) B) the possible applications of the expected electrical output Exercise 7 In field trip measurements Now choose one or more real sites you can have access to (they can either be from exercise 5 or new ones) read Sheet 2 and devise how to take exact measurements of head and flow. Discuss your notes with your group and go! Take your measurements and share them with your pals including photos, sketches, calculations and descriptions. Suggest the best water turbine option too.

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