Micro Hydro Pumped Storage

Sounds like that tour might have been interesting.

I guess that the information I had on hydroelectric efficiency was outdated as they are now claiming nearly 90% efficiency with modern hydro-electric systems.

The Consumers Power web site I linked earlier also has this document.:

Looking at the updated turbine they installed at the pumped storage facility it reminds me of the turbine pumps used on jet ski’s. A jet ski or jet boat pump may be an option for a DYI turbine for folks that have sufficient volume of flow to utilize.


Chris and others. I’ve thought about trying this many times over the years. My plan was to run multiple turbines positioned say at 65 ft down, 130 ft, and 200ft, because i am pretty sure that the efficiency (or lost power if you will) would make a 1 turbine system a wash.


I’m not sure about pumps, but pelton wheels really like high pressures. California’s Big Creek Project in the Sierras runs with heads of 1000-2000+ feet. It’s a bit more than Chris needs at about a gigawatt all together.


I found this very interesting :thinking: I


I would doubt such optimistic numbers. Because they would require pump and turbine both with 95% efficiency and zero other loses. I think it Is beyond current engineering so far.


We all know the figures don’t lie, but lying people sure can figure, as the old saying goes.


I presumed that was only for the new turbines. That much efficiency from a turbine is surprising.

As a combined pumped storage system - electric motor for the water pump have losses, pump losses, turbine losses, and generating losses would be significant.


Yes. It is interesting. For folks who don’t have a suitable welder or skills for welding stainless they might wish to use silver solder. It requires a good flux and limited heat to prevent oxidizing the stainless.


Promoters and Presenters often do “snippet” presentations. Accurately quoting one step efficiencies on one part of a whole many-steps process.
Glossing over the realities of a whole processes real cumulative/stacked inefficiencies.
Steve Unruh


I have an artisan spring at the bottom of my 200 foot hill my house is on top of. The idea of pumping water back up that hill is not something I can fathom but I recall seeing the road side displays of the old hydraulic mining nozzles the used to strip the hillsides to get the gold out of them in 1800’s California. Starting with wooden sluices and funneling down into decreasing sized lead pipes it was amazing how much force they could generate. a scaled down set up focused at some type of pelton wheel would definitely spin the wheel.


So I always had a question maybe somebody here could answer. A lot of these hydro generation methods require water pressure in order to turn a wheel of some sort in order to spin to generate the power.

I’m not really seen anyone do it, but would it not be more efficient to dig or raise the water so that the difference in height could allow gravity to assist in adding extra water pressure?

If you have a large enough body of water I’m sure this isn’t a concern, but where I live is generally just a bunch of streams


I’m not sure I understand the question, but in general, to get power from water you need some pressure (psi, or head which is how far the water “falls,” maybe in a pipe) and flow (gallons per minute, cubic feet per second). It takes both, and the power available is proportional to the flow multiplied by the pressure. So anything you can do to increase the head, or height difference, will increase your potential power. If you have streams, you move your inlet upstream to increase your power. Digging works too, but in a lot of situations is a lot of work. Let me know if I’m not answering the right question. I can try again (or maybe just be quiet :slightly_smiling_face:)


You have seen it. The old waterwheel mills, they dam up the river, and create a ‘mill pond’. then they have a channel that goes to the waterwheel, and another one for a bypass so the water can’t go over the top of the dam and erode it.

Cumberland lake and Kentucky lake are both man-made lakes, where there is a dam on the river for hydro electric.

Technically you don’t need a dam. but you get a lot more power if you have one. I have seen ones that are just paddles out in the middle of the river. The other style uses a natural waterfall.

If you are thinking about building one, you most likely need a permit to put up a dam. They have been pulling small ones to restore the water flow, which greatly helps out the wildlife.

Quite honestly, by the time you get the permitting and equipment, it is probably cheaper to put up solar panels. To avoid taxes some people set them on pallets and lean them against a ‘hitching rail’ fence so they aren’t attached to the ground or a building. But it depends on how your state calculates property taxes. For some plants like tomatoes, they found grow better under the panels because it eliminates the heat stress.


As far as salt water batteries go, here’s a newly posted video that might be of interest.

I’ve wasted a lot of time and money trying to build my own batteries with only limited success. This video just showed up and combined with a DIY membrane like…

That YouTube channel also had some other DIY membrane videos that I started to try but got discouraged and moved on to other things before I tested them.

I did a quick test of the galvanized nail and copper wire idea from the Aquion link and it did make power but it looks a lot like a potato or lemon battery.

Lots of people have the idea to scale up homemade batteries using buckets or barrels but I never seen anyone that actually did it. All my small scale experiments had such high self discharge rates that scaling them up would have been a waste. Hard to compete with the proven lead acid or lithium.


There are a number of means of utilizing water power. Height or best described as “head” imparts so much energy I almost want to say that the return on efficiency in use of water and usable power is exponential.

A water wheel is one means of obtaining power from low head. A Frances low head turbine is another.

There was a Frances turbine at the dam very near my home. It was used to power a grain elevator with grist mill. I had hoped to convert the dam to hydroelectric some 30 years ago but federal regulations prevented doing so. The dam impoundment is roughly 9 feet. I believe I recall that if the impoundment was 12 feet then power output would have been nearly double for the same volume of water.


I would like to share my best resource of small hydro


It is in Czech, but contains many instructables and schemes, which may provide help to any DIY enthusiast.


Here is another one. Kris is using a normal induction motor with capacitors and as it seems, a normal solar inverter. Strange, this needs some extra time to see how he makes the dc.


Because density if water is 1 kg per liter, it could be omitted from power equation and than it is simply g.h.Q. Since g is constant, one may see that head and flow rate are the main variables affecting hydro power generation. If you have small head, you need high flow to get reasonable power. With head more than 8’ there are engines working efficiently even for flows equal to very small streams around 50 l/s. One is shown above.

No matter of type, one always hit the wall named bureaucracy.


I watched all 4 video’s and he did say he was not competent to wire the system up and so left that to a licensed electrician , but no where could i find a mention of how he came by the numbers for the capacitors or how he converted ac too dc to go into the grid tie inverter , so i asked the question lets see if he answers or if someone else answers even …
Wish we could have a back up system like that for sure .


He is just using a 3 phase recitifier to convert the AC to DC before feeding it into the inverter similar to this.

MDS-100A 1600V 5 Terminals 3Phase Full Diodes Module Bridge Rectifier Set | eBay?

I am not sure what the capacitors are doing. I think they appear to be hooked up to the side of the circuit that is feeding the heater but I am not sure.