Solar Hydro Hybrid

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Biggkidd

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We have been off grid for almost 15 years using solar and generators for power. Batteries are an ongoing issue. Not that we have had a lot of problems but batteries need replacing every 5+ years. All the batteries we have used here were used when we got them so not overly expensive but moving a ton of batteries every few years is getting harder and harder on me as I get older. Plus my battery connection is no more. Recently we started using LifePO4 batteries in a golf cart and I love them. BUT I can NOT afford to replace our entire household battery bank with them. It's taking me a year to pay for the very small set for the GC. They should last 10+ years, possibly even 20 or more years. I seriously doubt I will be around that long due to poor health.

A year or two ago I got the bright idea of trying to mix solar and hydro in a pumped storage system. Using a pond as a battery of sorts. Plus I always wanted a pond anyway. lol On sunny days solar could pump a pond full and bleed it off for power at night and on cloudy days. A ram pump is also a slight possibility from one of our two creeks but our creeks have little fall and are nearly a 1/4 mile from the creek to where the house is and where the new house will one day go both. I will grant I did not research this idea before jumping in with both feet because as I said I wanted a pond anyway so if it doesn't work I still got my pond it just won't have the bonus of making power for us.

I started on the pond build a little while back, actually it started off as a simple berm to put a fence across and the more I worked and the more I looked and noticed things the more the idea started taking form. I still have no idea if it will work but I do know the area has about 40 inches of water sitting in it caught from runoff of the last storm. When I started leaning toward doing the pond and not just a berm I still wasn't really thinking of making power from it. I was just thinking of a small pond maybe encompassing a total area of an eighth acre or so but fairly deep for the surface area size. Anyway the project has grown and now it may end up being closer to a half acre than an eighth. With the size / volume increase I got to thinking more and more about the possibility of using it as a battery of sorts for power storage. I will have to do tons of research before I can even consider trying to set it up as a power source. But at this point I decided to go ahead and tell folks what I was thinking to see what kinds of feed back and ideas I might get from you folks. I would really like to hear from anyone who has any experience with micro hydro power and or pumping water without power.
 

Biggkidd

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At this time I have no idea what kind of turbine or wheel I will use. What I do believe is if I could manage to make about 2.5hp at around 4,000 RPM I'd be golden. So I'm thinking a pelton wheel might be the way to go.
 

SheepDog

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For power production you need velocity and moderate volume. a Pelton wheel requires high velocity and less volume. They are used most often for individual use because of there efficiency.
Hydro turbines need less velocity but higher volumes of water and are used in commercial hydroelectric plants. Flat plate or spoon wheels are used in conjunction with gearing for low speed grain mills and machine drives for wood and metal milling.
What you are expecting is going to be difficult to realize from even a lake much less a pond - even a large pond. Good luck.
 

Neb

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I will keep it short because I have to run soon.

There will be energy losses each time energy is converted from one form to another.

I'll check back later.

Ben
 

Biggkidd

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Thanks for your reply @SheepDog . I expect you are correct but since I'm building something here no harm in seeing what happens IF I ever get to that point. A pelton wheel may not be the best choice either as I stated above I have NOT done my research yet. Nor have I taken elevation readings YET. I probably won't bother until I get farther along so I can see what I am actually working with. It helps to have some facts before you start looking for answers. I don't KNOW where the top of the dam is going to land yet. Until I know that I can't say where the intake will be. Until I know the level of the intake and the difference between there and the output I won't know anything.

@Neb Power loss is a given, like in all things. I may well be wasting my time but it beats sitting around doing nothing waiting to die.........

LOL Can you tell I don't get off the homestead often. haha
 

Biggkidd

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Pointing back to my second post I said I needed or wanted 2.5hp. In reality ANY gain in stored power would be a major plus to augment our solar.
 

Biggkidd

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Does anyone here know of a residential pumped hydro system that's been done? I don't recall ever seeing or hearing of one.
 

Neb

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Does anyone here know of a residential pumped hydro system that's been done? I don't recall ever seeing or hearing of one.

By pumped hydro I guess you are talking about your idea of using energy to store some of that energy in the form of potential energy of water at an elevation then converting that into kinetic energy... Then no.

But that should not be a reason for you to explore your idea on paper or on a small scale. You have an ace in the hole in that tou can capture and use rain water that does not require pumping.

Your theory depends on you having more solar energy than you can store in batteries that can be used to run your scheme.

Kris Harbor had a microhydro play list see below.



He is developing a business based on his experience. He goes into some detail in some of his videos.

Re: ram pump

My ram pump had a drop of about 10' and was able to pump at 24psi (?) to 50' above the pump. The distance the water is pumped is limited by pipe type diameter and flow. (Outside my wheel house so verify)

Re: ram pump and micro hydro

The intake needs to be able to filter out debris. Kris Harbor showed a slick self clearing intake in one of his videos. If you are interested ram pump intakes I will find my ram pump book and get you some pictures.

Keep us updated on your adventures

Ben
 

Biggkidd

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Been on the bush hog for the last few hours cleaning up along the creek so I can see what I might be working with. This is the same path I had the dozer through but it's grown back pretty dense already.

Ben I do need more particulars on ram pumps than I currently have. IE: how much fall for how much lift. I think I'm going to run into a problem of not enough fall or flow to obtain the lift I need out of a ram pump. I wonder if more than one can be used in stages / steps?

Currently we have way more solar power than we can store. Right around 6,000 watts total. Over a given sunny day that could make 24kwh or more. Right now we can only use about 1/2 that between what's running on a given day and recharging batteries. So 1/2 is pretty much being wasted. Our battery bank is way undersize for the panels we have. To give you a better idea the single panel on the golf cart makes on average slightly over 1500wh or 1.5kwh per day. We have a total of 20) 300 watt panels.
 

Biggkidd

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So I been spending some time going to the youtube school of learning! LMAO This guy does some decent videos on ram pumps and has taught me enough to be fairly certain I can pump water up from the small creek to the pond site.

https://www.youtube.com/c/LandtoHouse

Further googling tells me ram pumps basically have a 1:7 lift ratio. For every foot of head pressure the pump has it can lift 7 feet. Which might just be enough to get water pumping 24/7. Looks like I need to break out the transit here pretty soon. It's raining here so a good day for water research... lol

As you all already know or should by now I am about half crazy but answer me this. Why couldn't a person setup a series of pumps at intervals to pump water higher and higher? Granted you would have to have multiple pumps and tanks but tell me why it couldn't be done! Yes it would lose water at each pump but so what as long as the results are achieved.
 

Neb

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So I been spending some time going to the youtube school of learning! LMAO This guy does some decent videos on ram pumps and has taught me enough to be fairly certain I can pump water up from the small creek to the pond site.

https://www.youtube.com/c/LandtoHouse

Further googling tells me ram pumps basically have a 1:7 lift ratio. For every foot of head pressure the pump has it can lift 7 feet. Which might just be enough to get water pumping 24/7. Looks like I need to break out the transit here pretty soon. It's raining here so a good day for water research... lol

As you all already know or should by now I am about half crazy but answer me this. Why couldn't a person setup a series of pumps at intervals to pump water higher and higher? Granted you would have to have multiple pumps and tanks but tell me why it couldn't be done! Yes it would lose water at each pump but so what as long as the results are achieved.
I used to subscribe to that channel.

Nothing stopping you from using multiple stages but there will be far less water delivered.

This playlist...



Covers what may be the most successful home made ram pump set ups I found on Youtube.

This is the intake I SHOULD have used for my pump.

20220804_165955.jpg


That image came from this book.

20220804_165426.jpg


It covers every aspect of ram pumps.

Here are some images of my ram pump system. I used 3 pressure vessels because I figured there should be enough volume to match the volume of the delivery pipe. It was over kill. I wanted to keep it under the radar and one 3 times as high would have attracted extension.

20160619_141751_Burst04.jpg


I painted it camo to hide it.

20160728_173429.jpg


It would start cycling at about 13 psi and would run about 20 psi when running.

20160728_173802.jpg


It fed a storage pond at the top of The Ridge.

20160805_202204_Burst01.jpg


My big mistake was where I built 5he collection dam. It was at the bottom of a steep slope.

20160618_163741.jpg


When storm water got to the dam, the water slowed down and dropped sediment and dam silted in. Future plans will use two springs to feed the pump.

Ben
 
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Biggkidd

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Ben I haven't made it all the way through the list yet but what I have has not been a waste of time, thanks!

We have had a lot of rain in the last few days. It's a terrible shame this project is isn't completed yet because it would probably be full. I don't know how full it is because it's muddier than I want to deal with to go see. I may try to ride down close enough to get a look tonight when I go feed the critters. If I can get close enough to see it without getting stuck or off the cart. I'm not up for knee deep mud just to see.
 

Biggkidd

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Just back from feeding the critters and checking the pond. Yikes! If we get another day of rain like yesterday I'm going to have to get a pump going or it might top the dam and cut it away. There's around 10 feet of water in there now! I never dreamed it would or could fill up this fast!!!!!!!!!!! I may need to come up with a larger overflow than the 12 inch pipe I have for it now.
 

Neb

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Just back from feeding the critters and checking the pond. Yikes! If we get another day of rain like yesterday I'm going to have to get a pump going or it might top the dam and cut it away. There's around 10 feet of water in there now! I never dreamed it would or could fill up this fast!!!!!!!!!!! I may need to come up with a larger overflow than the 12 inch pipe I have for it now.
Sounds like a big pile of potential energy.

Tap it.

Ben
 

Biggkidd

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It's all REAL muddy. I don't think that kind of grit would be good no matter how it were used.

BUT thankfully you did give me a thought I had sadly, STUPIDLY missed. I can setup a simple siphon and drain it off. I like that idea a lot better than trashing a good pump with all that mud!

THANKS BEN !
 

viking

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I've been talking to Alternative Power and Machine, they happen to have 4/0 welding cable on hand as well as 2/0 for connectors for our new batteries, we're going to have them make the connectors because the sources around here are slim and none. Anyway, they make Pelton Wheel powered generator systems, if anyone is interested, look at what they have at www.apmhydro.com, at least it might give some ideas for hydro power generation.
 

Biggkidd

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Got the pond draining and after 6-8 hours I think I can see the level starting to fall.

Also put a water pump on a 2000 something jeep today in trade for 2.5 pallets or cubes of bricks. Not a bad trade considering the water pump took about an hour. Now what project will I come up with for them? I do have a couple things in mind but no plan as of yet.
 

Biggkidd

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Pond got filled to soon. Now I have to drain it.

20220807_164209.jpg

An easy way to get a siphon going is to fill the hose and use a cutoff on both ends. 20220807_164157.jpg

That crappy green hose collapsed so had to exchange it for another hose.

20220807_170256.jpg

Water flowing pretty we'll.

20220807_173257.jpg
 
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Biggkidd

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Got over on the other side of the second drainage ditch today and made some decent progress. Pretty sure one of the oak trees I took down today was the largest tree I've taken out with the dozer. A pretty big double trunk. The small side was about one foot and the large side near twice that! I think I've got the dam area cleared off now I just need to get it down to the clay so I can start building it up. The water in the pond is still draining ever so slowly. It's a good 5/8 - 3/4" stream coming out of the hose but that's slow when it comes to tens of thousands of gallons.....
 

Biggkidd

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Got a few more hours moving dirt this morning before the heat ran me inside again. Thinking I had room enough for the second side of the dam last night turned out to be wishful thinking. Ran in to tons more sandy / loamy soil this morning back over on the first side, got most of that moved out of the way. I'm about to the point where I need to get the through drain in for while I'm working. Kind of caught in a conundrum here. I only have 28 feet total of 12 inch drainage pipe I also have 24 or 28 feet of 4 inch drainage pipe. The 12 inch might be okay for the overflow and the four inch might be okay as a feed for any future hydro. The problem is I don't think the 4 inch will be large enough to drain the work area until I finish and the 12 inch probably would but then I won't have it to use for the overflow.............. Although I wonder if the 12 inch is even large enough for the overflow when we get crazy rain like we get several times a year. Back when the wooden bridge washed out we had 9 inches of rain in less than 24 hours! IIRC That's a lot of gallons of water to move.
 

Biggkidd

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Got all I can done with the dozer for the lower pipe. Decided to go ahead with the 4 inch turned out I had another half stick so it was the longer of the two. Longer is better because it allows the base of the dam to be wider. It will also work the best if I do try and add hydro power. Plus it leaves the 12 inch for the overflow. I just hope that's big enough. Started on hand digging the last bit to get the 4 inch pipe in the way I want it. I expect that's going to take awhile. Looks like I'll need to dig a trench from nothing to about 2 foot deep to get it just how I want it. I must love hard work with all these projects I take on..
 

Biggkidd

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Well that didn't work or maybe I didn't work. Ran in to some grey substance that's almost rock hard and that stopped my digging by hand. So I took the dozer and opened up the north / shallow end. Pulled one big old stump and smoothed it out hopefully enough to get the tractor with the backhoe attachment in there to try and finish the drain trench. Eventually I will be digging out all the dirt to the left side of the pipe before the dam. It needs to stay until the drain pipe is in and covered and the dam is across it. Then all that gets dug out to be part of the dam.
 
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UrbanHunter

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I would pick up some more 4" and use it to drain, or dig a diversion ditch on one side of your pond until you can get your berm the way you want it and then back fill the ditch.
 
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