Instructables

Home Water turbine power plant... Mini HELP!!

Hey all! Just thought I would try and save myself some time, by inquiring with you fine folk first.. I am attempting to build a mini turbine system to generate power from a home standard incoming water supply... The PSI is easily high enough to run a mini power gerenating system without a significan/noticable drop in water pressure of the home.. So anyway, this is the prototype that I just knocked up to give you the jist of it.. Any comments on improving the design would be appreciated.. eg.. flow, restrictions etc. The turbines will drive a belt connected to a dynamo... Thanks for your time.... LftnDbt

Picture of Home Water turbine power plant... Mini HELP!!
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ztevo5 years ago
I've been pondering this for years, my thought, would 1 inch water pump for a car or maybe the electric water pumps they make for racing motorcycles work and be a good out of the box solution. for the car water pump you would need to connect it to a car alternator with a belt which would be real easy, you could do the project for less then 20 bucks before batteries and an inverter if you went to a junk yard. The electric water pumps for racing motorcycles are expensive but would make electricity if you ran them backwards I think. anyone know how many PSI a car waterpump can handle.
mpervaiz ztevo6 months ago
Good idea of using var wash pump of 300 psi, if a flywheel of 30kg, dia 1 m is rotated with this 300 psi and A alternator is rotated with flywheel,it would help in generating electricity.
lrgnet ztevo5 years ago
I seen this for sale http://www.shopatron.com/product/product_id=HGW10650/208.0 and thought how interesting that is and it doesnt need battery's working off of an internal turbine. That drove my search via google for water turbine and this post was one of the top searches. It would be neat to see an application made for boats that have backup battery powered engines to keep them charged and offset the drain maybe during operation.
Lftndbt (author)  ztevo5 years ago
Car pump could easily hold well over 300PSI. I have one sitting in my garage and was also pondering that idea. It works fine yet the block seal was leaking . I had to buy a new unit to get the seal. The pump I took off would work great yet, they require a fair amount of torque to generate a sifnificant amount of power via an alternator. I still think a 12 inline pond pump is your best option. Simply Plug and Play. Thanks for your comment. It still delights me that people are commenting to this topic still. It is over a year old... May I ask how did you find this topic? Search engine or I'bles search? I would very much like to know whom is referring all these views. Maybe my key words just hit well.. Over 7000 views for a forum topic is massive by any means.
ztevo Lftndbt5 years ago
I was just surfing the instructables when it popped up in the question area, but that was the first comment I ever made on this site, have you connected led lights to you phone line yet. It is a common thought process amongst thinkers, I have thought a bought getting a tread mill for my lab that generates electricity, or making a backpack for the dog that holds batteries and letting her drag a wheel connected to a generator behind her, but the extra weight would equate to needing more dog food so not sure if it would be cost effective, but it would keep her from jumping my 6 fence.
Lftndbt (author)  ztevo5 years ago
The thought of your dog trying to jump the fence whilst hooked to your device is very amusing indeed. ;)
aday2k131 year ago
Thank you so much you cannot believe how stuck I was with a school project and this came up.
paulo342 years ago
Hi all. I've been reading this thread with interest for the last few months as I have just bought a piece of land with a spring on it. The spring pumps out at least 20 litres a minute and I would like to use some of that to generate 12v dc power. I will only be using a laptop and a couple of lights so I dont need much power. I'm not very technically minded so please keep the answers simple but the posts about using a 12v pond pump in reverse seemed like the simplest solution. Can someone please expand on that idea and tell me what I need to do exactly?
WingNutOC2 years ago
Here's what I was thinking. It seems to me that if you power a battery bank off of solar panels, how many 12v batteries would it take to power a pool pump? Now then, how long can the pump run on x number of batteries? So, you have a loop of pipe going in and going out of the pump, with as many water turbines as you want in the line, each turbine generating power. How long will the pump run on say a bank of 6 or 8 batteries, and how much power can be produced in that time? Can you produce enough to offset your power baseline during the night?

The sun, wind, and water have been providing megawatts of power for what.... 6 billion years, and we're just figuring it out. It's like magic.
My water pump unit ran for three weeks non- stop before burn out, battery life stayed at 10.5 volts most of the time on pump alt under heavy load gen work great when needed. pump heat ran around 100* burn-out 140*to 190*
Battery were deep cycle . two wire for alt two for gen . this is a two alt and one gen unit.
I done some power research with 12 volt and 24 volt DC pumps . They work great run with a water turbine running a alt. or small gen. or Both .Alt. charges battery that run pumps, gen power lights or small power tools, or like I do a TV and two small 40 watt bulbs. Down fall pump burn up if not cooled right use a water cooled pump will hepl in-prove running life of pumps
chrisrich2 years ago
This is an interesting take on an upcoming project I was reading about in Japan this year.
Over in Japan they are planning a community where there is no power lines, just a high pressure water system. Phones, TV, and internet are all wireless from a central tower, and the homes all use heat pumps for heating/cooling, solar panels for lighting, and turbines on the water mains for power so the whole community using water generates power for all the houses.
It looks like the cost of all the power savings/maintenance outpaces the cost of not running power lines so it's probably not going to have much future until the cost of low power appliances, solar panels, batteries, etc come down a lot.
Still it'd be a great place to go fly a kite! ;)
Codes862 years ago
Great thread. A topic I have researched heavily. I do believe that a super efficient turbine with the correct hydro dynamics, turbine design, air bearings for
Minimum resistance would offer MINIMUM resistance to flow. Although no resistance is impossible, it is possible to minimize the resistance to flow through design. This would therefore make it practical to place inline, pre or post pump in agriculture type scenarios or on household pools etc. You could also add a small airline and create a venturi effect just before the turbine to increase flow (havnt looked into this much yet). Thoughts?
Lftndbt (author)  Codes862 years ago
"Thoughts?"

Sure, they are that it is interesting ppl still find and comment on this thread 3 years after its creation.
I found the little project interesting at the time, never went through with anything.
I still believe their are many possibilities to explore, though many draw from the source. The power has to come from somewhere, I believe the key is using excess generated power which is wasted in a system.
kenmneth - it's PERPETUAL MOTION ! If you can't spell it correctly, how could you understand it. By definition it is impossible, First law of Thermodynamics !!
B.Costello3 years ago
Hi all, I am a newbie .
I have devised a Free Energy unit suitable for New Build or Existing Property.
The unit provides 240v (constant) with a switch over system to Existing Suppliers( if required .)
I propose to make units easily accessable to 3rd World Economies and my total aim is to make Nuculear power stations redundant along with Thousands of Wind Turbine's draped around our shores.
Subterain installed or Housed this unit will carry insurance for servicing and maintenance making it's initial cost and insurance payments its only costs .

Watch this Space ! or Come on Power Giants get your Cheuqe Books out !.

Happy New Year to All .
getstukn3 years ago
very cool, keep it up.
tzq33tdq3 years ago
cool BD.
ztevo4 years ago
After more thought,  and watching a video about home power generation in cuba i had an idea,

Get a 55 gallon drum between the water main and the house,  put a high pressure nozzle into the top of the drum  focusing the jet of water onto a paddle wheel in the top of the sealed drum.  Place the water outlet  at the bottom of the drum,      the drum would need to be air tight so that the the top half of the drum could hold air,  this would allow a small generator to turn very fast ( say a car windshield wiper moter for a generator already at 12 volts only $5 at a junk yard)    having the air space would reduse friction in the jet of water making the generator turn faster.

This would also act as a storage tank  for water pressure you would have great water pressure when you first turned on the water but the pressure would decrease as the pressure in the tank decreased do to the restriction of water pressure caused by the small water jet.   you would need a tire valve on the drum so you could get the air volume and pressure right.
kenmneth4 years ago
you concept is on the edge of something   BIG  so don't stop there go for the   GOLD  and make it work by itself   (propetual motion)  i have done this at my home and wonder if you want the key to unlock the door to (propetual motion)  ? ? ?   if so please e-mail me with kokoko
ztevo kenmneth4 years ago
kENMNETH
Please don't steal from or take advantage of people, based on there ignorance to the basic laws of motion and energy. 

THIS IS A CON MAN DO NOT INVEST IN IS COMPANY OR SEND HIM MONEY FOR A SET OF PLANS FOR HIS FREE ENERGY MACHINE!!!
hoppnjoe4 years ago
Here is what i've been thinking about. I have a 13000 gal pool that runs year round. Can a water turbine be added on the outlet side of the pump filter? The pump pumps 85 gal a min. on the 120 volt side and 185 on the 220 volt side. Would like do someting like this to get off the grid.   thanks for any info..
ztevo hoppnjoe4 years ago
That would actually increase your electricity  use,  the turbine on the other side of the outlet would slow the water coming from the outlet putting more load on the electric engine that runs the water pump requiring more electricity  to be used by the water pump.    

Now if you feel your water pump is providing excess power beyond what is needed to keep your pool in good health you could get a smaller water pump that uses less electricity,  Or maybe put you current pump one on a timer so that maybe it only runs every other hour or so.

A simple way to understand this, 
picture a peddle bicycle, now imagine adding anouther back wheel behind the normal back wheel on the bicycle.  put a sprocket on the second back wheel and connect that via a bicycle chain to the normal back wheel,   when you peddle the bike the chain running from the pedals is going to the origional back wheel making the tire spin,  now energry from the original back wheel is sent via a chain to make the additional back wheel spin.    Is this bike going to go twice as fast as a normal bike using the same amount of pedaling  because of the added wheel and chain?   Or is the bike going to be harder to pedal because of the added friction of the aditional moving parts and the added weight?

Water and electricity is no different then a bicycle chain, it is just a means to store and transfer energy.  When there is added friction and moving parts energy is lost not gained

The Idea of the water turbine connected to the city main is just a way to divert some  energy that was stored  as water pressure and convert that energy into electricity,   there will be a loss in water pressure but the idea here is that most houses have more water pressure then they need anyway with the added benefit that lowering your water pressure would potentially lower your water consumption.
what if you could run the pumps off of 20 gallons of water and never refuel that is what i've done
forgot to add that the water line going back to the pool is 2 inch line.
 I'm building a cob house.  Probably mostly candles and wood heat, but collecting rainwater off the roof into a series of overflow rainbarrels, one run with a DC pump on solar paneling through a solar thermal grid to heat the water there (only need to pump the water through the piping to minimize overheating when sun's out, so only need DC, the theory is).  Had a brainstorm recently.

I'm combining two tiered roofs to get this to work - a green roof there the top two tanks sit and a higher A-framISH roof to collect off one side of - a few inches of rain collected into a barrel can FLASH fill 55 gallons fast, and I don't know I want to work so hard to get the rain off the other side of the roof.  SO I've got free, gravity pushed water coming down about 14', probably through a gutter.  I *was* thinking a nice water chain... then I realized!

I was considering one of those led-turbine combos you can buy off thinkgeek and other places.  All of a sudden, I thought: can I run a few soft leds on a switch through a separate wiring circuit connected to water turbines IN THE GUTTERS!?  Free lights on rainy nights.  Thoughts?!
water is the key to propetual motion stick with the water
 I'm replying to my own damn self.  

What about a water tanks under the gutter to store potential energy then use a water valve switch to turn on a more constant dc power (vs. that produced by variable rain power) for overhead led lighting of the house?  I'm gonna do it.
clbrey5 years ago
I have been toying with the idea of a very similar thing, built to fit inside the toilet cistern and so everytime you flush, when the tank fills, it spins the rotor, which - when coupled to a basic magnet/conductor electric generator, generates a current which could be stored in a battery, hidden behind the toilet. This smaller battery could then feed into a larger one which can be used to draw current off of to power items around the house. I am very glad to see so many ppl taking an interest in this line of energy generation.
Lftndbt (author)  clbrey5 years ago
Most definatley. The interest has been great. Cisterns seem to be a viable option. Someone else commented about placing an imapct sprinkler to generate said energy inside the cistern. That seems like a good idea.
DaveZeldis5 years ago
SO how is this really working out - what type of output are you getting?
Lftndbt (author)  DaveZeldis5 years ago
With the unit pictured I am able to run a low powered LeD. But only just. The turbine is not efficient by any means. Although it was just a proof of concept. I would like to spend more time with this idea.
a place good for a higher efficiency turbine is the toilet flush tank you can add a tip that makes good jet to the end of the fill tube and place an open turbine there the jet of water spins the turbine in high RPM and then the water just goes to fill the tank no need to seal at all since its allready in the tank - gives more freedom in the construction of the turbine so you can make it more efficient you may also try to modify any cheap impact sprinkler to create electricity
Lftndbt (author)  110100101105 years ago
Hmmm, interesting indeed. I had never thought of that available source, of high pressure at you toilet... It is nice to see people, still commenting after 10 months. Thanks. Tel me more about these "impact sprinklers" I don't follow... (I sell sprinklers too. LoL!)
the most common garden sprinkler with arm that beats itself is called impact sprinkler if you attach magnets and coils to it you may get energy of it as well you may use the sprinkler as garden sprinkler or inside a closed tank you wanna fill (where you dont mind water splashing in all directions) you can also add turbine in front of the water jet so it spins when the arm is away (may be good when you need short range of irrigation and dont mind destroying the jet) you can mount rechargeable garden light right on top of the sprinkler and eliminate some wires (that could bend over in full circle sprinkler) you can prevent the sprinkler from spinning without disabling the motion of the arm (mess up the direction selecting clips to stuck it or use a zip)
Lftndbt (author)  110100101105 years ago
LoL, apparently not known as "impact" in Australia... That was the type I was thinking you were meaning. I will have to check them out when I return to work. (lunch break at the moment)
I applaude your effort - but if I understand this - you built the Turbine and the innerds! You know that you could have gotten something much more efficient by purchasing it. I am looking for something much more commercially viable.
Lftndbt (author)  DaveZeldis5 years ago
Well duh!!! In-line pond pump 12v, go figure. I didn't want to go the shops. This was just an excercise. It took me all of 10min to through that lil' unit together.
rleap5 years ago
Have you thought about using compressed air in conjunction with the water to increase the pressure into the turbine thus creating higher voltage?

Tesla Blender
Lftndbt (author)  rleap5 years ago
Hmmm, not sure how feasible that would be. The idea would be to create power without having to use external means, compressed air.
cyc40155 years ago
I was personally considering a setup sortof like this in-line with a new shower i want to install, my thought was, maybe a tesla turbine like this but obviously built-up more. i reckon the only place i would lose pressure is in the shower, esp. if i put the turbine between the on-valves and the showerhead, then i would have hefty magnets on the disks, and a series of coils right outside. what do you think?
Lftndbt (author)  cyc40155 years ago
I think your idea is very similar to mine... The comment I have recieved thus far would indicate that not much energy would be created in the 3 mins of a shower. That information has made me think an inline filter at the highest pressure point would work best. Therefore I have determined that maximum energy manufacture would be produced at the first point on your side of the main. Great idea! Keep working on it!!
cyc4015 Lftndbt5 years ago
the main reason I was considering the shower is to reduce the possibility of pressure drop, i was planning on using the system in collaboration with a windmill to charge a 12 volt system to run the lighting in said bathroom, i figured that the two working together would probably create the electricity i need.
110100101105 years ago
I'd make something like in the img Its a curved strip of plexi with magnets on it placed on a stretched thread inside a pipe Problem there is that when working it screws up the thread so you need to change water direction all the time or use something else like magnetics or hardware inside the pipe
generator.png
that's pretty cool, what if, instead of a thread, you used a rod with the magnets set up almost like propeller blades? the rod could have pivots at either end, letting it spin freely, make it out of aluminum and corrosion stops being a problem,
Lftndbt (author)  110100101105 years ago
I think I get where you are going with that. Would the idea be to produce power due to the movements of the magnets? I think possible, scrath the string Idea. Fix 3 inline turbine and away you go... That was my fist idea, yet I do not have the tools to manufacture inline turbines with precision. Thanks for you comment. It pleases me to see people still commenting on this along time after it was posted... It was originally posted as just an idea I was working on, but it seem that many are interested in this potential mean of energy production..
stanimal6 years ago
I've played with this idea on paper myself (great minds think alike i gather-that and it's an obvious approach) and concluded that the time/effort that one would put into this plus the equipment needed isn't worth the small amount of power generated. Also..with the laws of physics energy is neither created nor destroyed, essentially you're "stealing" power from the water main, or taking away the effectiveness of your home water system-whichever you prefer. If this catches on to the community, the price of water will just go up due to the added amount of energy the company has to put into the water system. In which case the community would be spending more money and resources on power due to the 1st law of thermodynamics of converting energy fuel-mech-elec-h20-elec-home, rather than the current method of fuel-mech-elec-home. With the gravitational potential energy logic, that's good, but in order for it to be effective in producing MORE energy is to just build a dam in your backyard and use hydrostatic forces towards a real mini turbine; there you will have production of continuous electrical flow, powering your house. But then you have to get a permit from the gov'met to build a dam in your backyard because then you're interfereing with the collection of reservoir to support drinking water, wastewater, and power generation...and it goes on and on and on So my conclusion was...pay your $150/month electric bill... I applaud your project and thinking, however, because again..great minds think alike :)
If the mains pressure is 70 psi, and the house in question does not have two aboveground stories, I see no negative effect on water supply to the house. A mains pressure of around 40 psi is more than plenty to supply water to my house. Assuming the power generation only happened when water was flowing somewhere in the house anyway (perhaps set up just past the master valve?), the ony person you'd affect is yourself. Just my $0.02
mreams stanimal5 years ago
I am currently doing a project on this and hope to have success
Lftndbt (author)  stanimal6 years ago
I wasn't actually expecting this to be a source of energy I could use. More so an experiment to show the physical energy surrounding us. Thanks for your comnment. It's good to see people are still reading/interested in the topic.
wobs.hall5 years ago
dont know if anyone is still interested in this, i've looked a good bit into this. if you filled a tank with a ballcock, at a height you could obtain a 'head'. you could also use the rain water from your gutters to fill the tank, solar pump, etc. this height x gravity gives you more energy. if you then send this water through a narrower hose with a jetting nozzle to a pelton turbine at ground level, you will easily generate lecky. with this system, you can also throttle the water feed to the turbine. this will allow you to compensate for extra load by use of a solenoid the wrong way round. no load, the solenoid keeps throttle closed, when there's a load the solenoid would allow the throttle to open and turn turbine harder. if you cant find a cheap pelton, a small low blow turbo from a car might do(not 100% on this turbo idea, but could be cheap experiment).
If you can keep it oiled, a turbo is an excellent idea. The tradeoff ocmes in the hassle of oiling the dang thing: an oil system fo rthis application would be an amazing hassle.
Cae645 years ago
I know that this suggestion is a long time comeing, but why are you using a direct water source. You could easy set up a self contained water source (ie. fish tank, bucket of water) and just keep the water pressure constant either by gravity feed or with a water pump. PSI could be kept constant. I don't know about some of the commentors ideas that this is a waste of time, the best ideas start small and simple. I think that anything that can generate power without using fosil fuels is good. Also if you could make a portable version, or a version that can be submerge (halfway or fully) that would be better.
Lftndbt (author)  Cae645 years ago
I was looking for alot more pwr generation than what a gravity flow small setup would allow... mains pressure is around 70psi. I hope to harness that energy. An inline unit on your main line would allow pwr generation every time your water is turned on somewhere in the house. Alot more effiecient than a bucket gravity fed unit. Thank for your comment.
0788fingers6 years ago
just to change the subject slightly i have recently acquired a piece of land with a small cottage in the hills of scotland ,on the hillside at the side of the cottage is a stream they tell me up here its a burn ? . my idea is water turbine for power no mains up here, problem is how water wheel, turbine , how do you govern speed 3000 rpm 1500rpm750rpm, what about floods dry periods.any ideas,
NachoMahma6 years ago
. Unless you are using a LOT of water, the lack of flow will limit your output significantly. You might get enough power to drive a few LEDs when someone takes a shower, but I doubt you will get any really usable amount. Not trying to talk you out of it - sounds like an interesting project (probably make a great iPod charger) - just be aware that you won't get much power out of it. . Really no need to mount the turbine(s) at the meter - as with electricity, the flow is the same in a series circuit. At the flow rate you are looking at, the deltaP from meter to house is low. Mount it where you can work/tinker with it.
Lftndbt (author)  NachoMahma6 years ago
Hmmm... "flow" you say.... interesting. Now I'm a little bit confused.. I was assuming the PSI hence "flow" would be higher the closer to the main pressurized street line. As in, the closest point the meter would have a high flow and the tap 50m up the back of my yard has a relatively low pressure due to the incline which would have considerably less energy than the street main line... There are also several other factors internally within the home that also restrict "flow" hence my confusion... Though I do think your heading in the right direction with "flow"... Yet the low flow I do not believe to be the issue, just how to convert the low flow high PSI to very high PSI jets... I'm think a ramjet inline design may be more suited to this application. Thanks for your comment..!
. Well, any time you have flow, there will be _some_ pressure drop. I can't seem to find my piping handbook, but even a 50m run of 2.5cm pipe won't have a lot of drop at the few lpm you will have flowing. Not enough to avoid placing the turbines in a convenient location. If close to the meter is more convenient, go for it. . Now if that 50m is all uphill, then it will make a difference in the pressure at the house, due to hydrostatic pressure.
Lftndbt (author)  NachoMahma6 years ago
Ok... Got it..... I would even think... That if the main street line has a suitable PSI (which I do), The reduction from 1inch to 3/4 may perhaps increase the PSI of the house's 3/4 pipes... for the immediate first section of the house... Have you had any experience with RAM turbines? I have found a few articles on jetison streams and getting some relativley high RPM's. I need to wait until I get back to work for that one though...need more parts...
Patrik Lftndbt6 years ago
The absolute PSI doesn't matter. Since you're planning to insert this somewhere in between the water mains and a shower head or faucet, all that really matters is the pressure drop across your turbine.

It's kinda like an electrical circuit, really. If you have a resistor (pipes) and a DC motor (water turbine), it doesn't matter whether you put the resistor on the + or - side of the battery. The absolute electrical potential where you connect the motor doesn't matter, only the voltage across the motor does.

Just like with the electrical circuit, if you know the pressure drop (voltage) across your turbine (motor), and the water flow (current) going through it, it's trivial to calculate the power output.

I woudl strongly suggest you do this little exercise first, so you know at least what ballpark you will in...
Lftndbt (author)  Patrik6 years ago
" I would strongly suggest you do the little exercise first"

No thanks, I find it more interesting pondering the idea. Thanks anyway. Since you seem to be interested, perhaps you could calculate it for us all... :)
. Under static conditions, the size of the pipe will not affect pressure. Under flow, the small pipe will present a restriction and lower the pressure. . Do you mean hydraulic ram pump? All the ram turbines I know of use air. . Unless you plan on wasting a lot of water, I don't see where you're going to have enough flow to do much work (except for maybe the very short periods of time when ppl are showering or washing clothes).
gyromild6 years ago
I was thinking of making something much much smaller than this, attached to the sink tap itself, and let gravity+potential energy do some of the work. Never even started work on it. So it's interesting to see what you've came up with. Btw, are you planning to write an instructable on this?
Lftndbt (author)  gyromild6 years ago
It was just the prototype, but since there may be interest. Perhaps I will do an 'Ible on it. I'm thinking that this may be achieved by running the main house line through a inline 12v pond pump... If run in reverse the impellar should turn creating power...
LinuxH4x0r6 years ago
I had the same idea a few weeks ago!
Lftndbt (author)  LinuxH4x0r6 years ago
Yes it seems rather obvious, doesn't it..?
I was also thinking about an air compressor that works on city water pressure.
Patrik6 years ago
Before getting into turbine design - have you done your homework on how much energy you would expect this to generate? If you know how much water your household consumes, and what pressure drop would be acceptable for you, you can easily figure what the maximum amount of energy is that you could get out of this. You're not going to get into the kWhr range, but you should at least be able to light some high-power LEDs when you open a tap on the ground floor...
Lftndbt (author)  Patrik6 years ago
Yes I was especially interested in showers time etc... If we are going to use water we might as well get a lil' energy from it...
looks like it would work to me...

you should use that with
http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-build-a-rain-water-collector/
Lftndbt (author)  teaaddict3146 years ago
Yes that would be a good idea... I was hopefully wanting to produce more energy, than what the gravity flow would allow though... This unit would be located as close as possible to the street main line... It would also require a relatively high psi to run... Thankyou for the first comment... cheers..!
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