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Has anyone incorporated a water turbine generator into their AP system?

I have seen many pictures that show water flowing freely back into the fish tanks from an elevated height.  Water flowing down a gravity / step type setup could be stored or used somewhere.

If we are already moving water, (and paying for it), and moving water is the prime driving force to turn the turbine and generate electricity, then perhaps we can reclaim the power generated by the water to power other things.


Any thoughts??

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 hey theresa ..thats the kind of thinking that makes america great.... what if  the entire system could be a closed loop self sustaining system.... ok ... all you  electrical engineers out there  lets get busy
Interestingly enough this was a question I raised with Murray Hallam and one or two other persons, I am told the biggest challenge would be dealing with the inevitable loss of energy during the process. Like you said John the engineers need to get busy and probably provide much more informed perspective on this. I'm certainly no expert where this is concerned and bring an abundance of ignorance to the table on this subject.

Believe me, I am no engineer.   

I don't see a water turbine generator as being a main source of power, just a way of perhaps recapturing some of the power already generated and reusing it. 

i wondered the same thing when i was having my roof replaced...the pitch is very steep and in texas we have very hot summers  so instead of pulling that hot air out of the attic  let it rise naturally and turn a wind turbine and power the refrigerator or a/c or wait, i know , the xbox and tv  now that would be a savings

Hi Teresa,

Actually I have been exploring that option myself as the cost of electricity in the Bahamas is upwards of US$0.35 per kwh.

I have been contemplating installing RockyHydro's low head system, which only needs a min. 5ft head and they have a variety of options depending on your site needs.

Seeing as I will have all sorts of water flowing by gravity figured I could at least explore it.

Let me start by saying, I'm all for brainstorming and if some one has something they can test out, Please do and share the results.  BUT this isn't really a new idea and I'm about to add a bit of what some might think of as downer reality to it.


Keep in mind that if you need 5 ft of head (and probably a fairly hefty flow) to drive a micro hydro turbine, you may have some trouble benefiting from the extra expense of pumping the water up an extra 5 foot to probably not re-capture the amount of electricity it took to pump that extra 5 foot.  Rarely in aquaponics are you going to have a spare 5' of uninterrupted fall since we usually have things like grow beds slowing down or breaking up that flow.


Now if some one knows of a little generator that can operate off the flow out of a siphon without messing up the operation of that siphon then by all means, test it.


BUT, you won't get something for nothing.  There is no perpetual motion machine and there is not perpetual electricity machine.  Something has to do the work and if you can't harvest that work from the sun, wind, tides or an already flowing/falling natural water source, you are likely to spend more for less gain than you will get back.  I think there might be little micro generators that might be able to light up a led light using the energy of the water flowing through an aquaponic drain but I expect it may also tend to experience clogging issues in aquaponics.

TC your right unfortunately it will not probably produce enough to power much of anything, but I was thinking more in terms of providing supplemental charge, for the solar and wind, of course have to think of a way to avoid potential clogging.

Food for thought. Thanks

TC - I don't subscribe to the theory of perpetual motion, and don't believe in the tooth fairy either, lol. 

What I am suggesting is this...  we have already paid in some manner, for the power to pump the water through the AP system.   Since the water is falling back into the fish tank, can we recapture SOME of that power? 

I understand water turbine generator power is the product of vertical drop x the weight of the water; output will depend on the drop, (head), and flow volume. 

Not everyone will have a setup that could utilize a hydro generator, in fact most backyard AP systems won't.  But double deck setups, like Will Allens, or even possibly Rick Stillwell, who has his tanks in the ground, will have some height to them.

And just as you mentioned, if the flow out from a siphon could be incorporated, that might aide in the LACK of vertical drop.

Here is an excerpt from an article I read about a No Head water motor:

No-head: If you have a stream (or in our case moving water), with an average velocity of 4 feet per second or higher (preferably higher), you can use a no-head water motor. These are a relatively new innovation. While they are somewhat inefficient compared to more traditional designs, they have the advantage that they do not need a dam of any sort.

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