Overview of Micro Hydro Power Systems and System Components

Overview of Micro Hydro Power Systems and System Components
  1. Overview of Micro-Hydroelectric Power System

Micro-hydro systems are actually another example of the use of solar energy. In the Earth’s water cycle, water evaporates from oceans and lakes, and steam is transported to the location of rainfall to condense into water, driven by heat from the sun. Large hydropower plants use this renewable energy to supply electricity to the grid at peak times.

When investigating and setting up power supply sites in remote areas, the possibility of using a micro-hydropower system for power supply can be considered. If there is a permanent stream or dam in a suitable location, the use of micro-hydro power system can provide 24h stable power (this feature is better than photovoltaic and wind power systems), and its power supply cost is comparable to that of photovoltaic and wind power systems. .
Due to the long stable power supply time of the micro-hydro power generation system, the energy storage battery capacity it needs to be equipped with is small, which will reduce the construction cost of the entire system and reduce maintenance requirements.

Of course, the capacity of the energy storage battery depends on how well the power generation of the micro-hydropower system matches the load. Given that most micro-hydrogenerators supply power at 300W or less, the number of loads they can directly drive is limited. This power may only be enough to maintain the refrigerator and lighting, but it cannot drive loads such as washing machines and microwave ovens, nor can it drive combined loads beyond this power supply. At this time, the micro hydropower system needs to be equipped with an energy storage battery system to supplement the power supply.

  1. Micro-hydro power system components

Considerations for micro-hydro systems include:
(1) The water intake of the hydropower station.
(2) Availability of water energy (most states have regulations on the amount of water that hydropower plants can draw from rivers or streams. In areas where there are no relevant restrictions, from an environmental point of view, water abstraction cannot exceed 50% of the minimum water flow).
(3) Water diversion system.
(4) Pipes (including their length, diameter and laying related civil works).
(5) Isolation valve.
(6) Turbine.
(7) The type of alternator.
(8) Governor and control equipment.

The basic components of the micro hydropower system are shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1 = Basic Components of a Micro Hydro Power System
  1. Civil engineering

The civil engineering related to laying water diversion pipes (also known as pressure water pipes) is an important factor to consider when selecting the location of micro-hydrogenerators.

Failure to do a good job in civil repair work will seriously damage the river bank and the surrounding land foundation, which will make the river bank prone to collapse when it is hit during the flood season, and it is very likely that the hydropower facilities at the low level will be submerged. Inadequate civil repairs can also lead to a diversion of the river, which can rush downstream along a more direct path under the pipe (also known as the pipe bed). It should be noted that, compared with the cost of doing local civil repair work at the beginning, it is more expensive to solve the problems caused by the incomplete civil works repair work.

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