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Free Electricity From Tiny Streams
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Fintan
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Joined: 18 Jan 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 5:10 pm    Post subject: Free Electricity From Tiny Streams Reply with quote

Quote:
Scots inventor cracks centuries-old puzzle

PAT HURST, Thursday, 4th January 2007 - The Scotsman

IT IS a mechanical problem that has troubled scientists since Archimedes and the ancient Greeks, but now a Scottish electrician has come up with the answer - and it could help consumers save thousands of pounds in energy bills.

Ian Gilmartin, 60, has invented a mini water wheel capable of supplying enough electricity to power a house - for free.

The contraption is designed to be used in small rivers or streams - ideal for potentially thousands of homes across Britain.

It is the first off-the-shelf water-wheel system that can generate a good supply of electricity from as little as an eight-inch water fall.

Mr Gilmartin, an electrician and inventor who was born near Cupar, Fife, was not prompted to think up his new device by high energy bills - he does not own a television and has never lived in a house with electricity.

But he has a stream at the back of his house, and with the help of his friend and PhD engineering student Bob Cattley, 58, he hopes to get the invention into the shops by the end of this year.

Mr Gilmartin began experimenting three years ago with yoghurt pots and wheelie bins in the stream, the Beck Mickle, before test-running a prototype.

He and Mr Cattley, who live in Kendal in Cumbria, took the results to the Lake District National Park, and secured a 15,000 grant from the organisation's sustainability fund.

The prototype has been working successfully at St Catherine's, a National Trust site near Windermere, opening up previously untapped energy.

The water wheel produces one to two kilowatts of power and generates at least 24kw hours of sustainable green energy in a day - just under the average household's daily consumption of about 28kw hours.

It will cost some 2,000 to fully install - and pay for itself inside two years.

The Beck Mickle "low head" micro hydro generator could potentially provide electricity to more than 50,000 British homes and could be used industrially.

Mr Gilmartin said: "While we cannot say this provides free electricity, because of the initial cost of buying the machine, it is expected to pay for itself within two years and then greatly reduce the owner's electricity bills after then."

Water wheels of various types have been known since Roman times and hydropower was widely used in the Middle Ages, powering most industry in Europe. But the energy produced from the flow of water depends on the height, or head, that the water falls.

A "high head", such as a traditional water wheel, is large, expensive and needs civil engineering. But with low heads of under 18 inches, no-one had invented a method of successfully recovering the energy generated - until now.

A conventional water wheel allows the water to escape prematurely as the wheel rotates, but the Beck Mickle hydro generator contains the water for the full drop of the device, converting about 70 per cent of the energy into electricity.

http://news.scotsman.com/scotland.cfm?id=5492007&format=print


Quote:
SOME COMMENTS:

I'll have to look into this. I've been following microhydro technology for a
LONG time, and to hear that there's something more efficient than a
Pelton turbine would be a bit of a shock.

And a Pelton system costs a LOT less than $3500 (2K pounds) to install.

But if the guy really has had a new idea, good on him. I do indeed hope
this story is true and that the technology works, because I'm a big fan of
microhydro. It could be a significant source of electricity.

---------------------------

Pelton wheels are pretty simple. PVC tubing, and a car alternator.
But they do need more than eight inches of head to be efficient.

I WILL follow this story. I really DO hope this is a breakthrough. And I
have hope that it will be; look at the historical record of Scots inventors.

---------------------------

This would be a way to convert wind power into electric power. You could
have two ponds of about an acre let's say--one a few feet higher than the
other. After the water falls through the generator, windmills powering
pumps could cycle it back up again. With big enough ponds, the generator
would keep chugging away until the wind picked up again.

---------------------------

That's exactly the scenario I've been contemplating for some time.
How to 'create' water power in a kind of closed loop system, even if you
don't have a stream.

Could it also be built into a water pipe/pump system?
Very exciting, and ultimately not that complicated.

---------------------------

It would work better if hydro-dynamo had a way to slow down water flow
when lower wattages were drawn and more when higher wattages were drawn.

Also, I can't imagine a system like this without either a connection to the
grid or a bank of batteries, because you'd need something to store extra
power for when appliances kick on--like an air conditioner.

If you had a hydro-generator that could run everything at once, that's
great, but then when everything wasn't running, it'd be wasting stored
water by over-generating power.

---------------------------

Be more efficient to store the electrcity in a battery of flywheel...
than to store it in the form of acre-sized ponds of water.

---------------------------

How about a wind-driven Archimedes screw carrying water to the top of a
city building and then having the water fall down through a series of stacked waterwheels?

---------------------------

Here's an american turbine for 2 feet of head.

http://www.absak.com/catalog/product_info.php/cPath/33_89_91/products_id/705

I could power with micro-hyrdo and intend to, just still there's the matter
of a diversion and penstock even with a low head.

The same company has a francis turbine for low head, but high flow rates.

http://www.absak.com/pdf/nautilusspec.pdf

I'm looking forward to hearing what this scotsman's offer is about.

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DrewTerry
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 10:58 pm    Post subject: Is that a new punk band? Reply with quote

There has to be some sort of 'hydraulically pressurized' sort of water loop that could be pressurized and then use gravity to maintain the perpetual motion.

What about a NANO-water wheel - so small you can't even see it, and it goes right on the chip that it makes electricity for - self-powered - and utilizes the motion of the orbit of the planet. Somehow, we are already going 600 miles an hour around and around in a wave-like form of repetitive motion, we know its not stationary in the same orbit every time (same ecliptic path but not the same space each time because we the solar system rotates around the milky way etc.) and if 'in-motion' always moving, back and forth, isn't the inside of the Milo's scalar wave a mini-perpetual motion - the 22/7-21/7-22/7?

Once we can create the ultimate 'just in time' system, where the electricity is always there when you hit the button/pedal/switch and there is no storage to burden the loop - will be an epic leap forward. And if we can build the microchip there is probably a chip out there somewhere right now that has a prototype virtual 'cyberwheel' ready to go - as soon as the 'coast is all clear' (and we have run out of oil, right? Wink)

Thats the way it will go - smaller, to each his own personal power production, just what you need, no huge ugly industrial devastation on the land, no pollution, none of the crap that we will soon no longer have to be attention to in the way that we now do. Evolutionary progress.

And it also seems to be another example of Ethics > Power (no pun intended). I couldn't resist. :roll:

Serioiusly, the motion of ocean waves are a reflection of the orbital motion and gravity, so if we can harness the waves (which they already have in Amsterdam) then this would be relativity taken to the extreme.

Don't tell David Blaine yet or next thing well find him out kicking up moon dust with the cows, without an airpack, for a full lunar orbit! That would be magic.

Thanks, Fintan. Are you having fun yet? Very Happy
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MichaelC



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PostPosted: Sat Jan 06, 2007 4:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Guess I'd better sell my BP shares...
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indigitydogdignation



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PostPosted: Sat Jan 06, 2007 11:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not a technical person, but once in a while when I need to improvise I usually discover that I'm a decently good problem solver. That's not to say I'm prepared to prove what I'm suggesting here, but here it is anyway.

I live near a large, deep river that's dammed up for hydro power. It's a two megawatt plant that uses a drop of about 10 to 12 feet. When the water's high there's a fast flow both below and above the dam, and I've always wondered why this river - all rivers - aren't littered (in appropriate areas) with generators that would harness the flow of the water in much the same way as a windmill harnesses windpower. The shape of the turbine would naturally need to be different, perhaps resembling a screw for better hydrodynamics.
The slope of a river in any given stretch is a constant, and it's volume of water determines it's speed and power. No amount of interference detracts from it's useable potential energy - not true with wind. Cost effective, low tech baffled (funneled) units could be anchored on shore and strung in V formations that would help channel the flow resistance from one unit into the next ...and so on until the water reaches the final generator in the V. Another V could be placed just below it, and so on, for miles if necessary. I'd be willing to bet that 100 shallow 'mini-dams' of this sort, stretched out over a 10 ft drop a half-mile long, would be far more productive than a powerplant at a single 10ft drop.
No need for any flooding or radical environmental changes that make dams so incredibly undesirable.
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obeylittle



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PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2007 5:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dead thread.

Doesn't anyone else think this energy independence stuff is exciting? It's a "centuries-old puzzle" solved, that Fintan found, is it not? I've been laying back on the weed waiting for someone to jump all over this, to try to figure it out... maybe to sidestep the patent on the turbine and make your own, possibly more efficient and powerful design... maybe just to make it cheaper, screw efficiency... or maybe just wondering how in sam 'ell could it really work? But this thread petered... and now no-thing.

Since no one else around here wants to answer an old question and skip around expensive patents, I'll do it myself I guess. I'll be back. Maybe I'll share.
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elbowdeep



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PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2007 8:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I too am very interested in any updates to this thread.

I've been studying alternative power for a few years now, as my plan is to go off-grid. I've been focusing more on proven technologies like wind and solar, as they are usually plentiful. The technologies have been making strides recently in terms of efficiency, which is now presenting a new problem... WHEN to get on board.

Like computer technology, if you wait another year, you will get major advancements at nominal cost increases.

In particular the OB1, which will "soon be available" for a couple of years now. (They have been testing it for that long, to [url]make sure[/url] it's control system optimizes available wind to power at ALL wind speeds.

http://www.aeromaxenergy.com/OB1.html
This is the system I was envisioning when I first realized what the enherent problem with typical wind turbine output was. I hope they are done their testing soon, and it proves to be a success!

ED

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Nat



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PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2007 9:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

vortex tubes are well worth looking into

Last edited by Nat on Fri Mar 26, 2010 8:01 am; edited 4 times in total
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elbowdeep



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PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2007 2:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Funny you mention vortex tubes... I have actually used these ones..
http://www.vortec.com/vortex_tubes.php

Quite a cool phenomenon (pun intended) Wink

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Nat



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PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2007 3:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

one thing i wonder about, and that's would it be possible to take the hot feed, and recompress that flow, run it through a second vortex tube and generate roasting oven kinda temperatures ?

i freakin' love vortex tubes, there's something about them, like they're a piece in the puzzle of some very next level sphere of physics...and they involve rotations - and in/out waves Wink (well, flows anyway)


Last edited by Nat on Fri Mar 26, 2010 8:00 am; edited 2 times in total
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elbowdeep



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PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2007 5:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

matt wrote:

one thing i wonder about, and that's would it be possible to take the hot feed, and recompress that flow, run it through a second vortex tube and generate roasting oven kinda temperatures ?


Heheh... nice try. Laughing I like the way you think.

Why not put a steel box on top of your air compressor and stick your roast in there?. Don't forget where the compressed air came from in the first place. Wink Pneumatics is probably THE most inefficient way to transport energy.

The only way to "move" heat (without going to steam power) would be to drive a pneumatically operated air compressor (air-motor coupled to a compressor), you'd have cold exhaust air out, and hot compressed air as a product. It would be terribly inefficient though.

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Fintan
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2007 6:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
matt: i freakin' love vortex tubes, there's something about them, like they're a piece in the puzzle of some very next level sphere of physics...and they involve rotations - and in/out waves (well, flows anyway)


Yeahh dude,

I'm takin' a close look at the graphic now....
Quote:
http://www.vortec.com/vortex_tubes.php


Somebody mentions vortex, my ears kind'a pick up... Wink
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Nat



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PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2007 7:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

elbowdeep wrote:
Pneumatics is probably THE most inefficient way to transport energy.

yeah, but fun though Wink


Last edited by Nat on Fri Mar 26, 2010 8:02 am; edited 1 time in total
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