Electricity generated from running water can be one of the most affordable off-grid power sources, but the use of hydroelectric turbines may be restricted in some areas
There are two ways to get electrical power from streams and rivers: a turbine in the natural channel of water, or a dammed water flow that feeds into a turbine. Turbines are often prohibited in the natural channel of a waterway because it is by law public property and a turbine would be an obstacle to other users and aquatic life. A stream on your property can be dammed only if you have sufficient elevation difference (or ‘head’) between where the stream enters and leaves your property; however, there may be local restrictions on damming even on your own property due to water rights of farmers and ranchers downstream of your property.
After you determine if you have access to extract water power, then the measurements you need to take are the flow in gallons per minute (flow = volume x velocity), or in the case of a dam, measure the head, multiplied by the cross section area of the outlet, multiplied by the force of gravity. The flow can vary seasonally as well as from the center of the channel with maximum flow to the bank at minimum flow. The beauty of water power is that it generates 24/7, unlike intermittent solar or wind power.
Mobile hydropower plants for off-grid areas
Deep River’s hydropower plant technology provides electricity generated from river currents and waterfalls to small, off-grid communities.
An estimated 1.2 billion people live without electricity due to lack of infrastructure and unreliable electricity sources. New, efficient renewable energy solutions are needed to meet the growing worldwide demand for electricity.
In Europe alone, over 26 000 sites are well suited for mini hydropower generation (<1MW), but are unutilised due in part to poor accessibility and inadequate technologies. Maximising the power production potential of these sites could help individuals and rural communities in Europe and developing countries to generate clean and reliable off-grid electricity.
Easily installed small hydropower plants
Deep River has developed two hydropower plants for generating electricity from river currents and waterfalls, based on its redesigned Kaplan turbine and synchronous magnet generator technology. The patented DROP & GO is Euro pallet-mounted and can meet micro (<100 kW) electricity demands. The PLUG & GO is container-based and can meet mini (<1MW) electricity demands. The plants can produce current effects up to 600 kW, depending on the diameter of the inflow tube and the flow rate and head/height of the waterfall. Both plants feature a power hub for power storage and conversion.
DROP & GO and PLUG & GO are small and can be easily installed in less than a week, requiring only anchoring and no additional construction. The plants are ideal for disaster zones and other areas that are difficult to access, but where off-grid power is needed immediately. PLUG & GO could potentially power up to 1 350 households annually.
Deep River’s hydropower plants are easy to install.
The power hub and plug-and-play capability of Deep River’s hydropower plants differentiate them from other solutions on the market. The plants are also competitively priced and are built from high-quality components, requiring minimal maintenance over the course of their 15-year life expectancy.
Due to their small size and light weight, Deep River’s hydropower plants can be installed in locations where other solutions are unfeasible. This provides a unique opportunity for growth in the decentralised mini hydropower market.
Illustration of a Deep River hydropower plant in context.
Global power demand is projected to increase by 60 per cent by 2040.
In 2016, hydropower generated 16.4 per cent of the world’s electricity from all sources combined, with 1 064 GW of installed capacity. Overall hydropower capacity is expected to increase by 125 GW by 2023. Rough estimates indicate that there is 10 000 TWh/year of available unutilised hydropower potential worldwide.