Aquaponic Gardening

A Community and Forum For Aquaponic Gardeners

Has anyone looked into useing a micro hydro-electric power system to power their aquaponics greenhouse? My wife and I are going to start building our first greenhouse and I was sarting to look into power choices. Micro Hydro-electric power caught my eye. I was thinking not only could you supply power to your system, but you could also airate the water for your fish. Let me know what your thoughts are about this idea.

Views: 1255

Replies to This Discussion

this is a great Idea -they have inline generator things, right?  -I know there is one designed to light up your shower from the very water coming in.
I saw a video on Youtube of a self-powered generator. It used a water pump that spun a paddel wheel that turned a car altenator. the guy just plugged it into an outlet to start the pump then he quickly unplugged from the wall outlet and plugged into the outlet connected to a power inverter that was connected to the alternator. The machine made it's own power to run the water pump and power a light bulb. It had two chambers to it. One chamber held the water for the pump amd the paddel wheel. The other chamber was the dry side that held the altenator and the power inverter. I was thinking somethin like this may just work for powering an aquaponics system.

I have seen that video. that would be perpetual motion. it is likely that it is losing power more rapidly than they let on.

I hope I'm wrong. I just have my doubts.    however, any water source that we do have to use anyway could give us water and a small bit of energy with those inline generators. -Maybe it isn't enough power but it would be a realistic place to start.

Robert. I'm not a dream killer, though.  - hook one up and show me up! -I've just got so many other crazy Ideas I'm putting together right now!

No your not being a dream killer. I am going to research it out.

cool I'm interested in seeing!

Robert Magnes said:

No your not being a dream killer. I am going to research it out.
I'm new to this forum and this group. I am wondering what your source(s) you have that would be used for powering a hydro-electric generator? I assume you have a stream nearby that is beckoning to you. The work (in a hydro system) being used is the kinetic energy of the mass of the water pushing on a paddle (or turbine) either by a fast moving stream or the fall of gravity from a waterfall system (like early grain mills) The last time I investigated this concept I discovered the many water-right issues as well as the fact that any generator placed in the stream can heat the water causing a loss of habitat. Most states will not allow hydro-electric system to bu used in this manner.
I do not live close to a stream or river. What I am looking into is a self powered system. I seen a video on you tube of a self powered set up. The guy had a water pump turning a water wheel on the wet side of a box that turned a generator on the dry side of the box. He started it with 110 power from an outlet then switched it over to power from the generator. He was running the water pump and a drop light. A set up like this could be used operate a small aquaponics system. It would also airate and circulate the water. I have not had a chance to build one yet. but that is my idea.

Mike Konshak said:
I'm new to this forum and this group. I am wondering what your source(s) you have that would be used for powering a hydro-electric generator? I assume you have a stream nearby that is beckoning to you. The work (in a hydro system) being used is the kinetic energy of the mass of the water pushing on a paddle (or turbine) either by a fast moving stream or the fall of gravity from a waterfall system (like early grain mills) The last time I investigated this concept I discovered the many water-right issues as well as the fact that any generator placed in the stream can heat the water causing a loss of habitat. Most states will not allow hydro-electric system to bu used in this manner.
Oh. What you are talking about is a perpetual motion machine, which is not possible. Each time you convert one energy source into another you lose energy (generally through heat) and the efficiency drops accordingly For example, a pump that draws 25W of electricity will only convert, at best 75% of energy in the form of water pressure. A water wheel is only good for about 50% conversion to rotary motion and a DC motor turned into a generator again only gets 75% efficiency. When you get done building the thing the actual energy you will get is about 10% of the energy you put in. Their are losses in the wires and pressure drops in the plumbing. My suggestion is to get a photovoltaic panel and drive a Dc powered aerator directly. ..or charge batteries and use that for extra storage. You will have to generate 3-4 times of energy through the day to keep your project going through the night.

Robert Magnes said:
I do not live close to a stream or river. What I am looking into is a self powered system. I seen a video on you tube of a self powered set up. The guy had a water pump turning a water wheel on the wet side of a box that turned a generator on the dry side of the box. He started it with 110 power from an outlet then switched it over to power from the generator. He was running the water pump and a drop light. A set up like this could be used operate a small aquaponics system. It would also airate and circulate the water. I have not had a chance to build one yet. but that is my idea.

Mike Konshak said:
I'm new to this forum and this group. I am wondering what your source(s) you have that would be used for powering a hydro-electric generator? I assume you have a stream nearby that is beckoning to you. The work (in a hydro system) being used is the kinetic energy of the mass of the water pushing on a paddle (or turbine) either by a fast moving stream or the fall of gravity from a waterfall system (like early grain mills) The last time I investigated this concept I discovered the many water-right issues as well as the fact that any generator placed in the stream can heat the water causing a loss of habitat. Most states will not allow hydro-electric system to bu used in this manner.

I agree that on a large system it would be very hard to make it work. But for a small system in someones backyard I believe it is possible to make it work using a PMA like one of these:

http://www.hydrogenappliances.com/allpma.html

An aquaponics system that is 300 gal or less could operate off of a PMA like these. It could supply enough power to keep back up batteries charged and run the system. The batteries are only used when the PMA and components are shutdown for repairs. This is something that I have been thinking about. The hard part is coming up with the correct size pulleys to operate the PMA at max capacity. I believe the makers of the unit will help in this matter. A system over 300 gal would be best run on standard grid power or off grid with solar panels and wind power. This is just what I have found so far online. 

Mike Konshak said:

Oh. What you are talking about is a perpetual motion machine, which is not possible. Each time you convert one energy source into another you lose energy (generally through heat) and the efficiency drops accordingly For example, a pump that draws 25W of electricity will only convert, at best 75% of energy in the form of water pressure. A water wheel is only good for about 50% conversion to rotary motion and a DC motor turned into a generator again only gets 75% efficiency. When you get done building the thing the actual energy you will get is about 10% of the energy you put in. Their are losses in the wires and pressure drops in the plumbing. My suggestion is to get a photovoltaic panel and drive a Dc powered aerator directly. ..or charge batteries and use that for extra storage. You will have to generate 3-4 times of energy through the day to keep your project going through the night.

Robert Magnes said:
I do not live close to a stream or river. What I am looking into is a self powered system. I seen a video on you tube of a self powered set up. The guy had a water pump turning a water wheel on the wet side of a box that turned a generator on the dry side of the box. He started it with 110 power from an outlet then switched it over to power from the generator. He was running the water pump and a drop light. A set up like this could be used operate a small aquaponics system. It would also airate and circulate the water. I have not had a chance to build one yet. but that is my idea.

Mike Konshak said:
I'm new to this forum and this group. I am wondering what your source(s) you have that would be used for powering a hydro-electric generator? I assume you have a stream nearby that is beckoning to you. The work (in a hydro system) being used is the kinetic energy of the mass of the water pushing on a paddle (or turbine) either by a fast moving stream or the fall of gravity from a waterfall system (like early grain mills) The last time I investigated this concept I discovered the many water-right issues as well as the fact that any generator placed in the stream can heat the water causing a loss of habitat. Most states will not allow hydro-electric system to bu used in this manner.

HI Robert. I looked at the modified alternators on that link you gave me. Even though these are 'tuned' to produce more voltage at a lower RPM, which makes them more adaptable to wind and hydro generation, you still can't get more power out of it than what you put in.

Lets talk economics for a second. Say you spent $400 on that PM motor and drove it on 'free' energy, the wind or a nearby stream and you used the output to drive a 25W pump. At 10.4 cents per KW/hr from your local utility, that $400 would buy you almost 4000 Kw/hr of energy.($400)/($0.104KWhr)= 3846 KWhr) which is equal to 3,846,000  watt/hrs. That means you can run a 25W pump for (3,846,000 Whr)/(25w)=153,840hr or  17.56 years. A very long payback and none of the mechanics would last that long. That does not take into account the cost of electricity you would be buying to turn the aforementioned water pump, to drive the hydro's turbine that would be connected to the generator etc. There just isn't any cost justification for it, nor would you gain any energy. It would just be a cool Rube Goldberg device with all that stuff connected together. Actually the perfect sort of thing the government would love to subsidize since the device can't sustain itself (like all the other renewable energy projects) without intervention.

 

In my case, since the cabin is not connected to the grid, I can justify a renewable energy system because of the lack of any affordable power nearby, but if the IREA walked up to me and handed a 220VAC line free of charge - just pay the KW/hr charge please - I would do it in a heartbeat.

 

Hope this helps as a sanity check.

I understand that it would more than likely be cheaper to just run power from the house to the system. But for me it is just one of those "Let's see if I can do it" kind of things. I am looking at trying to use as many recycled components as possible to keep the cost down. Also I am retired so time is not an issue. If it takes me 5 years to get this thing running then no big deal. I like to tinker with things like this anyway.

Mike Konshak said:

HI Robert. I looked at the modified alternators on that link you gave me. Even though these are 'tuned' to produce more voltage at a lower RPM, which makes them more adaptable to wind and hydro generation, you still can't get more power out of it than what you put in.

Lets talk economics for a second. Say you spent $400 on that PM motor and drove it on 'free' energy, the wind or a nearby stream and you used the output to drive a 25W pump. At 10.4 cents per KW/hr from your local utility, that $400 would buy you almost 4000 Kw/hr of energy.($400)/($0.104KWhr)= 3846 KWhr) which is equal to 3,846,000  watt/hrs. That means you can run a 25W pump for (3,846,000 Whr)/(25w)=153,840hr or  17.56 years. A very long payback and none of the mechanics would last that long. That does not take into account the cost of electricity you would be buying to turn the aforementioned water pump, to drive the hydro's turbine that would be connected to the generator etc. There just isn't any cost justification for it, nor would you gain any energy. It would just be a cool Rube Goldberg device with all that stuff connected together. Actually the perfect sort of thing the government would love to subsidize since the device can't sustain itself (like all the other renewable energy projects) without intervention.

 

In my case, since the cabin is not connected to the grid, I can justify a renewable energy system because of the lack of any affordable power nearby, but if the IREA walked up to me and handed a 220VAC line free of charge - just pay the KW/hr charge please - I would do it in a heartbeat.

 

Hope this helps as a sanity check.

OK. Tinkering is fun, my loooong replies are to insure that you are not being taken advantage of by some snake-oil salesman . My aquaponics effort is in the category of tinkering, but I am hoping I can make it sustainable and practical at 10,000 feet. Thanks for your patience. I'm semi-retired (at 63).

RSS

© 2022   Created by Sylvia Bernstein.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service