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Thread: Water Wheels for Generating Electricity

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    Water Wheels for Generating Electricity

    Okay, I'm really just creating this post to be the first poster in this forum.

    Anyways, there are probably hundreds of rivers and streams that could be used for generating electricity using the old fashioned water wheel. I'm not referring to the overshot or breast wheels, but the low tech undershot wheels which just sit in the river or stream and allow the current to rotate the wheel.


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    Re: Water Wheels for Generating Electricity

    Okay, now that I got that post in

    The old fashioned undershot wheels had like 30% efficiency. Then came along a guy named poncelot, who had an understanding of hydraulics. Instead of a pure impulse wheel which used the impact of water against the straight vanes in the water wheel, he designed a curved blade. Water rose up the curved blade and the weight of the water increased the efficiency of the wheel from 30% to 70 - 80%.

    These wheels were used up until the early 1900's for grinding grain and supplying mechanical power, when other cheaper (electrical) technology came along and replaced them, and they eventually were all retired..

    Fast forward to today: They still are a viable option for creating electricity in a decently flowing stream or river. New wind power generator technology using low rpm rare earth permanent magnet generators are now available.

    A stream flowing 10 feet/second can generate 3-5 KW easily with a relatively small diameter water wheel. If one has a few hundred feet of river frontage, they can easily generate 10-20kW 24/7. If your jurisdiction allows you to backfeed and turn the meter backwards, there is plenty of money to be made.

    I have drawn up plans for the prototype, and will create my first over the next year or so.

    The first thing to do is to pour the concrete pads on the river bank to install the unit to, which is what I will do this summer.

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    Re: Water Wheels for Generating Electricity

    Quote Originally Posted by skid
    Okay, now that I got that post in

    The old fashioned undershot wheels had like 30% efficiency. Then came along a guy named poncelot, who had an understanding of hydraulics. Instead of a pure impulse wheel which used the impact of water against the straight vanes in the water wheel, he designed a curved blade. Water rose up the curved blade and the weight of the water increased the efficiency of the wheel from 30% to 70 - 80%.

    These wheels were used up until the early 1900's for grinding grain and supplying mechanical power, when other cheaper (electrical) technology came along and replaced them, and they eventually were all retired..

    Fast forward to today: They still are a viable option for creating electricity in a decently flowing stream or river. New wind power generator technology using low rpm rare earth permanent magnet generators are now available.

    A stream flowing 10 feet/second can generate 3-5 KW easily with a relatively small diameter water wheel. If one has a few hundred feet of river frontage, they can easily generate 10-20kW 24/7. If your jurisdiction allows you to backfeed and turn the meter backwards, there is plenty of money to be made.

    I have drawn up plans for the prototype, and will create my first over the next year or so.

    The first thing to do is to pour the concrete pads on the river bank to install the unit to, which is what I will do this summer.
    Be sure to take pictures and post them!

  4. #4
    cigarlover
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    Re: Water Wheels for Generating Electricity

    Well, first let me say thanks for this info. I didnt even consider this but I am now. Do you have any links on how to build one and whats needed? I'll take a photo of my brook later and maybe you can tell me if I have enough flow to set this up?

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    Re: Water Wheels for Generating Electricity

    CigarLover -

    Measure the depth of the water source near your bank. You want to be able to place the wheel as close to the shore as possible. Next measure off a 100 foot section along the bank. Have someone drop a stick or other floating object into the stream, and record the amount of seconds it takes to travel that distance. The faster the better. When I have more time I will post some very interesting links. I have plans for water wheel water pumps/aircompressors as well.

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    Great Value Carrots 7th trump's Avatar
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    Re: Water Wheels for Generating Electricity

    Been working on a circuit that doesnt use large expensive KVA transformers to get 220/110vac.
    It'll use a digital oscillator going through a filter for the 60hz sinewave and a voltage multiplyer coupled together with 12v deep cycle batteries in parallel which can be kept charged at 12vdc with solar cells or dc 3amp motor.
    The batteries are the source of high current required to initiate household items like fridges and well pumps.
    It'll use a small center tapped transformer to get the required phase differences for 220vac before going to the 600v, 200 amp amplifiers.

    Looks promising
    &quot;If you wanna be a clown, at least post a pic with a red rubber nose.&quot;<br />Spectrism 2/21/2011

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    Re: Water Wheels for Generating Electricity

    Quote Originally Posted by 7th trump
    Been working on a circuit that doesnt use large expensive KVA transformers to get 220/110vac.
    It'll use a digital oscillator going through a filter for the 60hz sinewave and a voltage multiplyer coupled together with 12v deep cycle batteries in parallel which can be kept charged at 12vdc with solar cells or dc 3amp motor.
    The batteries are the source of high current required to initiate household items like fridges and well pumps.
    It'll use a small center tapped transformer to get the required phase differences for 220vac before going to the 600v, 200 amp amplifiers.

    Looks promising
    7th Trump,

    I'm trying to understand what you are saying, but you're not being very clear. The PM generaters i am considering are 3 phase 600V. I have approx 350 feet from river to house, so the higher voltage will allow thin conductors to the house. (I will also have a 3 phase 600V electric pump motor for irrigation at the river). There I will use a phase converter/Xformer to convert to single phase (or use a single leg for 208V) to drop down the voltage to normal house hold levels (not sure if it will be 208 or 240V).

    Since I will be backfeeding the grid, any excess will be fed backwards, or if I'm not supplying enough, I will get feed from the grid as well. In the event of grid loss, any excess will be fed into my hot tub or custom toaster (resistor banks). There will be no batteries in the system, as I don't want to maintain them and they are unnecessary on a HV system..

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    Great Value Carrots 7th trump's Avatar
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    Re: Water Wheels for Generating Electricity

    I've come up with a circuit that uses a digital squarewave 60hz frequesncy that is ran through a 6th order butterworth filter to get a perfect sinewave.
    Whats significant about this is I have designed a circuit (in testing phase) that bypasses the huge 10KVA transformer needed to power a house to go completely off grid only using a 12v dc recharging source like an alternator or solar panels.
    I'm not sure if you know much about electronics or electricity but the transformers transforms voltages up or down but the current is inversely porportional. Meaning that if you have a 12dc source with 120 available amps that by the time its turned into ac and tansformed into 120vac you will not have 120 amps. What you will have will be something like 10 amps at 120 vac which is not enough to run all your lights and a refridgerator.
    My circuit is injecting the available current from the 12vdc batteries at say 1000 amps into 120 vac having an end result of 1000 amps at 120 vac without ever using a transformer that drops the current way down in order to achieve 120 vac.
    This way 12vdc solar panels producing 50amps or any amount of current can keep the charge on the batteries and supply what ever is needed to run the house.
    Four or so solar panels are enough to keep the battery bank charged for night time use and recharge the batteries during the day.
    I ran some 5watt leds on a battery that wouldnt start a car for over 6 hours last year during a power outage. There was enough light from these leds to my garage was completely lit up like a christmas tree where cars driving by were trying figure out how I was doing it with no generator.
    The battery never went below the voltage it was at when I started and the light you couldnt look straight into
    &quot;If you wanna be a clown, at least post a pic with a red rubber nose.&quot;<br />Spectrism 2/21/2011

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    Great Value Carrots 7th trump's Avatar
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    Re: Water Wheels for Generating Electricity

    My house is currently being rewired with 18ga two conductor to the lights as a second dc power source for these new leds lights I'm making for each room. Each room is getting four 10 watt star leds which close to having three standard 60 watts light bulbs. Very little heat and at 12vdc 700ma its nothing to stay lit for hours on a car battery. Very little current is used from the grid if I keep it on grid power, but for now its ok as I'm testing the whole system.........well particially anyway until the rest of the house is wired up.
    When grid power goes out the batteries will automatically kick in to run the leds and the frig will have its own converter which shouldnt be any bigger than the standard audio amplifier housing you find in the cars today.
    I just need to run some serious gauge wire from the batteries to where my frig is.
    Hopefully this takes off and I can tell the local power company to come and pull the meter and then stay off the property.
    &quot;If you wanna be a clown, at least post a pic with a red rubber nose.&quot;<br />Spectrism 2/21/2011

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    Re: Water Wheels for Generating Electricity

    OK I understand what you're saying now. In my case, because I will have plenty of wattage, I will not require the setup you need due to low wattage solar panels being your power source. If I go with several water wheels (eventually), I will have the equivelant of 20-40 generating hp (12-24 Kw) I will be able to run several homes as is, just like getting power from the grid.

    My only issue will be explaining where I get that much power from, and perhaps getting the required permitting to do that. I already have a irrigation water license that allows me to build a diversion structure, so that will probably suffice for the first wheel, as the wheel can also pump water (see attached for basic principal - http://www.earthgarden.com.au/waterwheel.html ). Additional wheels will require permitting since I live on a fairly famous white water rafting/steel head fishing river and the wheels would certainly be noticed.

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