Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Micro-Hydro for the Global Farm

During a visit in May by ECHO's President/CEO, Stan Doerr, he requested that we purchase a few micro-hydro generators from a shop in Chiang Mai to demonstrate at ECHO's Global Farm as well as to take to ECHO's East Africa Impact Center in Arusha, Tanzania.  The shop sells various sizes of units with the capacity to generate electricity of 600 watts and higher.  I bought three of the 1 kw units.
One type of generator has a three-inch intake pipe to accommodate an adequate volume of water (5-8 liters/second) with a minimum drop of 5 meters required to spin the turbine. The second type of unit has a shaft with a rotor extending from the turbine.  These units are designed to be installed in penstocks in which water drops vertically between 6-10 ft. (1.8 m – 3.1 m); the required degree of drop will depend on the generating capacity of each turbine.  To accomplish this, an adequate flow of water must be directed via a channel into a properly designed penstock in which a vortex is created that will cause the rotor to spin.
In June we hauled all three generators to the ECHO Global Farm in Ft. Myers, Florida.  Upon arrival, ECHO's Appropriate Technology Intern, Craig Bielema, worked many hours to set up one of the generators in a suitable location for demonstration.

An ECHO Asia document called "Micro-Hydro in Myanmar and Thailand" that introduces the concept of such practical technology can be downloaded as a PDF from this site: http://www.echocommunity.org/resource/collection/F6FFA3BF-02EF-4FE3-B180-F391C063E31A/Micro-Hydro_in_Myanmar_and_Thailand.pdf

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