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How to Build a Small-Scale Hydroelectric Generator

We all know that scientists are in a constant search for alternative energy sources and this happens because in recent years conventional energy sources have started to decrease significantly.

They have developed various systems that convert the energy from nature in electricity and many of these systems could be built at home, on a smaller scale, in order to reduce electricity consumption.  After we saw how to produce electricity using magnets or wind power, it is time to talk about those people who live near a river.

In this case, the best way to produce electricity is represented by a small-scale hydroelectric generator made at home. Often called as a low-impact hydro, micro-hydro or run-of-stream hydro generator, this system is not very hard to build.

To build such a micro-hydro generator you must follow these steps:

A. Preparing Disks

Our generator will consist of two main parts:
-The stator (this part is not moving and it is equipped with coils of wire to collect electricity)
-The rotor (the rotor is the part that moves and has some powerful magnets that will induce electricity in the coils)
First you need some templates and a cardboard. The two templates that contain the rotor and stator scheme must be cut and attached to the front and back of the cardboard. After these templates are well glued to cardboard make a hole (1 cm) at the center of the stator disk.

B. Attaching the Stator

Now, you have to make 4 coils that will be attached on the cardboard. This requires you to use a cardboard with an oval section. Then, start winding the wires on this cardboard to form a tight coil (200 turns). Remove carefully the coil from the oval section and then, repeat this procedure to make three more coils.

Arrange the coils on the cardboard according to the template scheme (their windings have to alternate between clockwise and counter clockwise). You must be sure that an electron would follow the path shown by the arrows in the template, begining from the left counterclockwise coil.

Connect the ends of coils and use insulation tape to prevent any errors. Use a multi-meter to cehck electrical resistance (ohms). If the wires are properly connected the meter should produce a reading of about 10 ohms.

C. Attaching the Rotor

At this stage you need 4 strong magnets to be attached on the stator template. Check the magnets, mark the south pole on two of them and the north pole of the remaining two. The magnets should be arranged on the template so that their polarity alternates (N-S-N-S).

Then you need a cork and 8 plastic spoons. You have to shorten the spoons so that the handle will not measure more than 1cm. Look at the rotor template and insert the spoons into the cork (1cm depth).

D. The Turbine

Make a 6mm hole through the cork (make sure the hole is centered), fix again the geometrical position of the spoons and add some hot glue to each spoon to secure it.

 

E. Generator body and Final Assembly

Find a plastic tank or a bottle to attach the rotor, the stator and the small turbine. After you find the center of the tank, make a hole in that place (6mm) and fix the stator with its coils just above the hole. Then, attach on the same shaft the turbine and rotor (the spoons have to face the neck of the bottle and the magnets should be close to the coils (3mm between the coils and magnets)).

It seems that our micro-hydro generator is almost ready to use. All we need now is a stream of water so that the turbine to spin continuously as long as there is water to drive it. If the turbine is properly connected to the generator this stream should produce enough electricity to power our utilities or charging batteries.

Update: Youtube user TheDamHeroes, inspired by the designed shown in this article, posted a working hydroelectric generator. Watch it in action below:

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Comments

  • JakeVoigt

    THE HYDRO-ELECTRIC ENGINE
    By Jason A.
    Voigt
    The three cycles in this system are closed loop systems
    after start up energy is applyed. once opeerating temp of 152 to 190 degree is
    acheived
    then the three system just work in a loop so that the 1500 to 1
    release of energy is done in the system form turning water in to steam
    Using this system free energy can be acheived read on to learn more
    about this.
    The hydro electric engine
    The basic of the
    hydroelectric engine work like this. It works with steam on demand and energy
    storage as heat with an electric cycle, mechanical cycle, coolant
    cycle.
    Instead of having a boiler and storing water in a tank and heating all
    the water at once. This engine uses steam on demand technology. By taping into
    the coolant system of the engine and connecting this line to the fuel injection
    system. Then injecting the coolant on a heat plate between the cylinder head and
    the block. It makes enough steam to push the piston down and the then the piston
    push the steam out the exhaust. Where it goes back in to the block and condenses
    back to coolant. Transferring the heat to rest of the coolant. The warmer the
    coolant in the block is it takes less energy to turn into steam. Therefore, when
    the coolant is at 190 degrees it only takes 22 degree more energy to reach the
    boiling point of 212 degrees. At this point, it would be running at 90%
    efficiency keeping 10% for safety. Then considering energy for start up of a
    battery and then having a closed loop electric system and on outside energy
    coming into the system it is really running 180%! 100% for engine operation and
    up to 80% free energy and 10% to keep the system running and 10% for a safety
    margin. This can be done with pistons or a turbine.
    The Hydro
    Electric Steam turbine
    Coolant system closed loop with energy storage
    as heat
    Electric system closed loop
    Turbine system with generator
    for electrical out put
    The coolant system has a large tank with 500
    gallons of coolant. With extra room for expansion with a radiator and thermostat
    to keep coolant from going above 190 degrees. The storage tank it also has a
    pressure relief valve.
    Coolant is pumped to an injection system. Where it is
    injected into a tube with an electric heat plate that is at 500 degrees that
    turns the coolant into steam the steam that builds pressure in the chamber the
    chamber is coupled to a steam turbine witch turns a generator. The steam then
    passes through a one-way check valve so the steam can only exit the turbine.
    Then the steam goes back to the holding tank where it condenses back to a liquid
    coolant this also transfers heat raising the temperature of all the coolant in
    the tank. Therefore, when the coolant in the tank reaches 152 degrees this is
    the break-even point. It is now taking the same amount of energy to heat the
    coolant as you are getting
    Out of the generator. So when the coolant in the
    system reaches 190 degrees. It only takes 22 degree to reach 212 degree to turn
    it back into steam at this point it is only using 10% of the energy that it
    would take to heat cold coolant. Therefore, the system makes 90% more energy
    than it does takes to produce the steam.
    The system is now
    self-sufficient and produces 40% extra power free.
    In this system, 100%
    is equal to 50% due to energy storage as heat with 10% free power
    And 10%
    for safety.
    So the total over view is 200% total power.
    100% the
    complete loop of the system self sustaining
    80% free energy
    10% safety
    margin
    10% to keep the system running
    By Jason A.
    Voigt
    3/16/2004
    Hydro Electric Engine Electric
    Cycle
    #1
    Start power from Battery
    Into Inverter 12 V to 120
    V
    Inverter to Heat Controller
    To 120V Electric
    Heater
    Thermo couple controls heat with Heat controller
    Heater
    heats Heat Plate
    Battery provides power For Starter to turn over
    engine
    And provides power to the injectors
    Alternator or Generator
    draws power from the crank
    To keep the battery charged and provides power to
    the
    Rest of the system
    Electric cycle starts over again except for
    the starter
    The Hydro-Electric engine Coolant cycle
    # 1 #2
    Coolant Coolant reaches break even
    Point of 106
    Degrees
    Electric Pump Between 106 Degrees and 190
    Degrees 1% to 40%
    Free Energy
    Injectors Coolant Cycles starts over again
    Coolant
    sprayed on Heat plate
    Steam
    Steam
    expands
    Piston moves down
    Crank
    rotates
    Exhausts valve opens
    Piston moves
    up
    Exhausts
    Steam move through one way Check Valve
    Out
    of the cylinder only
    Steam moves through exhausts
    pipe
    Coolant condenses
    Heat transfers to the rest of the
    coolant
    Coolant raises to a temp of – 40 to 190 degrees
    Hydro-Electric
    Engine Mechanical
    Cycle
    #1
    Piston just past top dead
    center
    Steam Expands moving piston down and turning crank and
    Flywheel
    Piston moves past Bottom Dead Center
    Exhaust Valve opens
    Piston moves up steam is pushed out
    Valve closes
    Steam
    passes through Check Valve
    Cycle starts over

  • JakeVoigt

    Hydro Electric Engine Electric Cycle
    #1
    Start power from Battery
    Into Inverter 12 V to 120 V
    Inverter to Heat Controller
    To
    120V Electric Heater
    Thermo couple controls heat with Heat
    controller
    Heater heats Heat Plate
    Battery provides power For
    Starter to turn over engine
    And provides power to the
    injectors
    Alternator or Generator draws power from the crank
    To keep
    the battery charged and provides power to the
    Rest of the
    system
    Electric cycle starts over again except for the starter
    The Hydro-Electric engine Coolant cycle
    # 1
    #2
    Coolant Coolant reaches break even
    Point of 106
    Degrees
    Electric Pump Between 106 Degrees and 190
    Degrees 1% to 40%
    Free Energy
    Injectors Coolant Cycles starts over again
    Coolant
    sprayed on Heat plate
    Steam
    Steam
    expands
    Piston moves down
    Crank
    rotates
    Exhausts valve opens
    Piston moves
    up
    Exhausts
    Steam move through one way Check Valve
    Out
    of the cylinder only
    Steam moves through exhausts
    pipe
    Coolant condenses
    Heat transfers to the rest of the
    coolant
    Coolant raises to a temp of – 40 to 190 degrees
    Hydro-Electric
    Engine Mechanical
    Cycle
    #1
    Piston just past top dead
    center
    Steam Expands moving piston down and turning crank and
    Flywheel
    Piston moves past Bottom Dead Center
    Exhaust Valve opens
    Piston moves up steam is pushed out
    Valve closes
    Steam
    passes through Check Valve
    Cycle starts over
    Hydroelectric
    Engine
    By Jason A. Voigt
    There are three major parts to the
    engine
    Electric
    Water/coolant/stream
    Mechanical
    Electric
    It
    starts with Batteries to start warming the heat plate
    This heat plate is on
    top of the cylinders of the block and under the cylinder head
    This plate can
    be made of steal or any materiel that can transfer heat
    This can also be
    inserts in an insulated material
    The heat in the plate comes from cartridge
    heaters 120 volt that can reach 300 deg
    Or higher so the heater can keep up
    with heat demand with out dropping below 212
    Degrees. The power comes from
    the battery than into an inverter witch step the power from 12V dc to 120V ac it
    is than ran through a temp control and thermo couple to control the heat. The
    Cartridge heater witch makes the heat. There is also an alternator or a
    generator to draw power off the crank to recharge the electrical system. Once
    the heat plate is up to temperature, the heater is intermittent to keep up with
    heat loss. There is also a starter to start the engine turning
    over.
    Water/Coolant/Steam
    The coolant system in the engine is
    where the water and coolant are normally used to collect heat from the engine
    and dissipate it. I this design it is used feed coolant to the fuel injectors in
    the cylinder head that are aimed at the heat plate to create steam on demand in
    the cylinder. Water to steam has an expansion rate of 1500 to 1 this expansion
    is what pushes the piston down. When the piston comes back up from inertial
    force the coolant is exhausted to the to the exhaust manifold and the exhaust
    pipe that has a one way check valve so the coolant steam can only travel out of
    the engine. The exhaust pipe that is connected to a radiator to complete the
    loop back to the coolant system. Where the steam condenses back to coolant. This
    also warms the coolant so it takes less energy to heat it the next time around
    up to the temperature of the thermostat. So in short, the energy used in the
    engine is stored as heat. So when the engine reaches operating temperature of
    190 degrees it only take 22 degrees of temperature to reach 212 degrees this
    make the efficiency of the engine greater.
    To push the piston down with
    steam. There is also a radator cap set at 200 degrees
    So the engine can
    release energy keeping the engine safe if the thermostat
    false
    Mechanical
    The piston moves past top dead center.
    Coolant injects, steam, pushes the piston down.
    And The flywheel on the
    engine rotates. At bottom dead center the exhausts valve opens moves the piston
    up pushing the steam out to the exhaust. The cam is on a one to one basis with
    the crank so every rotation is power and exhaust. There is an oil system to
    lubricate the engines moving parts.

  • http://www.jerewindependentresearch.com/ LoneWolffe

    @Gabby I’m surprised that no one has gotten back to you on this. If I could answer your question, I would. From my way of thinking, the problem is making renewable energy available to the masses, the hypothesis is whether the average joe can pull it off with nothing but a little time on his hands and a few basic materials, and the objective would be to prove it. (Again, I could be way off, because I haven’t taken a science class in twenty years or so.)

  • http://domain.tid/ Gabby

    pls answer, help! anybody here?!

  • http://domain.tid/ Gabby

    Could any of you pls. reply fast to what i asked awhile ago ?Because i really need this for my school project and its only until friday.Tnx!

  • http://domain.tid/ Gabby

    Could any of you pls. help me to make a problem,hypothesis,and objectives for my science ip ?I really need it because I am going to use this idea and our deadline is near and this is the only nice one i saw. Thanks! :)

  • TravisMoore1

    Here is an idea for a modified Tesla turbine. A hollow pipe with a slit or slits in the middle  would be perfect to make a hydro generator with nozzle to make the stream have more force on the disc welded to the pipe. The water would spin like a whirl pool out the middle of the water turbine. Needing water proof ceramic bearings and  water tight construction.

  • Taylor888

    Do you have a parts list??????

  • af2000

    Go to http://re-energy.ca/ they have a pdf of everything you need.

  • pradeep n

    @RJ2012 i got only 325milli volts

  • pradeep n

    @davi used for this project is 24 gauge

  • pradeep n

    how much volt is produced by this small scale hydro generator because i did this recently it produces only 325milli volt how can i increse it ?

  • dav

    what gauge wire for low head / water flow, a/c or d/c output

  • dav

    what gauge wire for low head / water flow, a/c or d/c output

  • bubblebutt

    good but needs a materials list

  • PFJtechjunior

    how do you buy wires for 10 ohms ? i live canada if that matter ? 
    i want to test this.

  • panikos

    does the wire has to be enameled wire? and what mm? how strong and big do the magnets have to be?

  • paola

    what is a sator? an how long does the wire have to be? and how big is the sator?

    • http://www.greenoptimistic.com Ovidiu Sandru

      it’s a stator, not a sator. :) and it’s the fixed part of any electric motor/generator.

  • c12a12l12

    how thick is the wire?

  • Joppi Silangit

    You can follow this link to step by step Build Micro-hydro Generator with template included.

  • Amran

    I really need help with it can you make it easier to understand

  • Maheshwari Deepesh

    can you tell me that what are the ratings of magnets if i have produce 12watt?
    and what is the size of that disk on which the coil is wounded.?

  • SHALINI

    ITS REALLY NICE

  • Lutisha Alvoen

    good advice but it would be good if it had a video

  • George Spalding

    I only want to make the spoon part!

  • Katie

    what are the materials you need?

  • Ridz garg

    Can u make it more clear?I wanna make a model ,something like this only!

  • ogundipe omolara

    I need help so as to generate the hydro electricity in our home

  • scorpion

    pls explain in detail how the copper coils are winded and attached to the stator part wit pics.. I need to do this water turbine at the earliest., the only doubt s wit the stator part which s not clear,,

  • Highly Eager Student

    Could you explain in detail, the stator and the rotor part. im a grade 9 student thinking of making this project, but not clear regarding the mentioned parts

  • JonDanil

    Save money by installing your own “water power” system, discover the astonishing DIY technology that wipe out your dependence on greedy energy companies and expensive alternative energy sources, check this link : http://power-water.tk/

  • Science Nerd Wanna Be

    If you want more voltage try adding more copper coils and magnets that should do the tick if it doesn’t i’ve got no idea cause what i said worked for me

  • RJ2012

    We build this generator for our science project but it is not generating enough voltage. Can anybody tell me how much voltage you got?

  • KOCHAMUCHA

    IS THERE SOMETHING EASIER?

  • I-Want-A-Good-Note

    Should I do this for a science experiment? I’m in grade 8 and we have to do a construction/experiment. Please respond because I need an idea for 11/4/2011 (Friday) thanks :)

  • varunpr97

    Neodymium disk shaped magnets will be optimal and stator u can use enamel wires of about 30 gauge….

  • Nitish

    ya this is really fantastic…………………………

  • andrew

    i have worked on a prototype for a electricity source with the ability to power my house using no fuel or any outside help it works finally but i can not find a way to stop it before it destroys its self it works allot like the Hydroelectric Generator shown above but different in ways i will not say over the past year i have not seen any other creation like it on the market and was wondering if any 1 else has because this last bug in the prototype i can not fix and was hopping some 1 else has fingered it out please post and offer help

  • darco

    Fantastic idea, great way of energy sourcing .. .. i have bought it from one of our local Generator Sets manufacturers, and its working pretty good.. :)

  • http://www.radiatorshowroom.co.uk Designer Radiators

    Oh without the scientist and the explorer for truth we would still be in the cave. Well done to those who continue to challenge and take our life to other levels, good and bad.

  • Artesian Well Owner

    I have an artesian well that produces a small stream (about a gallon a minute) — can this be used successfully for usable power?

    • http://www.greenoptimistic.com Ovidiu Sandru

      I guess, if you can charge a battery with it…

  • http://pokemon superman

    can you attach the coil with super glue.

  • http://www.eurocell.co.uk upvc door

    This would make a really fun high school science project! Of course if you wanted to employ it in real, daily use, it would have to be more solidly constructed, but as a tool for teaching basic principles it’s fantastic!

  • Katrina

    Where is the template for the cork?

  • paul ross

    could this be used to powered the pump on a water feature i am about to create in my back garden

  • http://mahen-jambi.blogspot.com mahen

    i do love this topic..so nice..thanks

  • http://www.plastmo.co.uk UPVC Windows

    Actually, this could be a fabulous additive to the community wind power. Any back up or alternative support for your energy needs is positive for the individual and communities. Any excess energy available from wind power can be fed into the grid. Now this is savings, real savings.

  • http://www.radiatorshowroom.co.uk/ Radiators

    This appears functional and reasonable, however there is a lot of development occurring with community wind power. Does this not conflict with a whole approach rather than individuals?
    I am not suggesting we as individuals don’t consider this as an option, but for the longer term community wind power is favored.

  • AznHustler

    I was wondering, what kind of magnets are you using? Also what are all the materials you used for the stator?

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