Generating electricity from water

Two micro hydroelectric generators, supplied from Vietnam and the US, offer local continuous generation of electricity for villagers and businesses – and they work on water heads of only 1.2-1.5 metres, according to the suppliers.
The technology is well-proven and means that off-grid communities living next to permanent streams can easily {mosimage}Two micro hydroelectric generators, supplied from Vietnam and the US, offer local continuous generation of electricity for villagers and businesses – and they work on water heads of only 1.2-1.5 metres, according to the suppliers.
The technology is well-proven and means that off-grid communities living next to permanent streams can easily have affordable small power plants.
The two suppliers represent two poles of the same type of technology – prices for units range from only $200 from the smallest Vietnam-made units to $9,000 and more for the US-made units.Affordable PowerPal micro-hydroelectric generators are manufactured in Hanoi, Vietnam, under the supervision of Canadian company Asian Phoenix Resources, while the Nautilus Turbine is a long lasting, miniature ‘utility style’ ultra low head reaction turbine manufactured in the USA.
The PowerPal range consists of simple AC single-phase, brushless permanent magnet alternators attached to a propeller turbine. The stream flow is diverted into an intake canal where it forms a vortex and rotates the propeller before exiting through an outlet pipe, to flow freely again. All that is required is a vertical drop (head) of 1.5 metre and a sufficient rate of water flow, which is obtained by installing the PowerPal on a small waterfall, dam or diversion trench.
Electricity passes along a wire and into a house or another site where an electronic load controller stabilises the voltage. The controller is supplied with the generator.
Once installed, there are no running costs and maintenance costs are low and limited to periodic greasing of bearings. If the unit is submerged by floodwaters, it only needs to be dried in the sun before it can be used again.
Three models are available, ranging in capacity from 200W to 1,000W and in price from $200 to $680, ex factory, which includes the intake canal and draft tube. However, the canal and tube can easily be built locally, which would allow more units to be shipped per crate and thus decrease freight costs. Also included in the price are some spare parts. The generators come with a one-year warranty.
PowerPals are mainly marketed in South East Asia and South and Central America, but there is also interest in the generators in many African countries. The company believes that the generators are well suited to conditions in West Africa.
The Nautilus turbine will power a home or shop on as little as 1.2 metre of head with a flow from a small stream or stream fed farm dam, claims its manufacturer, Cameron MacLeod of Pennsylvania, USA. Made of stainless steel, the Nautilus has an expected life of over 50 years. The bearings are of high quality and seals will last 7 to 10 years between refits.
The turbine is specifically designed to power off-grid homes, shops, medical clinics and small villages or villages industries. A special model designed for agro-processing is available. Three models are available which, with a conventional energy battery storage and inverter technology, produce output of between 550W on a 1.2 metre head to 3.4KW on a 5.5 metre head.
The turbine is lightweight (total assembled weight without generator is 105kg) which makes transportation by backpack, mule or light aircraft to remote locations possible. It costs around $9,000.

POWERPAL: info@powerpal.com Tel +1 250 361 4348; Fax +1 250 360 9012
NAUTILUS: mac@waterturbine.com Tel +610 469 1858; Fax +610 469 1859
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