Instructables

I am thinking of using a rain barrel for hydroelectric power. Any ideas?

Can you create electricity with a high pressure stream of water from a gravity feed source?

Id be interested in trying to help develop this idea.....remember cable came to us by satellite dishes the size of cars now just a little box....I would say maybe special shaped blades that spin as the water flows through the barrel...I seen they are going to start using hydro powered windmills in the Mississippi river. I know the navy has a special shaped turbine to propel subs. I also would think you would need more than one rain barrel. I live in Washington state so Im sure we have enough water to maybe make it worth it idk..just thinking outside the barrel
lemonie5 years ago
If the rain barrel was a hundred feet above the turbine, you'd be able to get a high pressure stream out of it - but I guess it isn't? L
at 100 feet you'd have almost 10x the power (30 meters as opposed to 3)... thats FIFTEEN WHOLE WATTS! yay. I wish we could use the blink tag... ;)
frollard5 years ago
Fox has it on the nose with calling it a science project.

Maximum total energy you could expect to extract is the gravitational potential of the water. The formula is EnergyPotential (Joules) = Mass(kilograms)*GravitationalForceConstant(9.81M/S2)*Height(Meters)

If you kept a 50 gallon drum of water near the roof of a 1 storey building, that would be ~(200KG)*(9.81M/S2)*(3Meters) = 5686 joules = about 1.5 watt hours. (according to google calculator)

Thats generating 1 watt, for 1.5 hours. Not a lot of power. Not enough to charge a cel phone.
Yes, you can generate electricity with water from a rain barrel. BUT, you won't get a whole lot of energy out of it. You could build a small waterwheel with a little dynamo and maybe produce enough to power a flashlight for an hour or so. But since the idea relies on the rain barrel being full when you want it to be, I'd say it's not an efficent plan. So I'd say this is limited to a science project at best. Like I said, you can do it. The ingredients are : waterwheel, dynamo, rain barrel.