Paper Cup Hydro Electric Generator





Introduction: Paper Cup Hydro Electric Generator

ok so when submitting my water pump instructable i saw the competion for paper coffee cups, this gave me some ideas but the closing date is the 9th, today is the 9th (at 2.26am) so i dont have time to get hold of a bunch of paper coffee cups and i dont think it would be in the spirt of the thing just to get a load and waste them. so i have done some diagrams to demostrate my idea.

its the basic water wheel system based on the Haris design of wheel used in hydro electric dams.

Step 1: Starts With a Bicycle Wheel

ok so you take a basic Bicycle wheel a mountain bike one would be ideal as the channel is wider where the inner tube goes, also would be better to use a larger wheel say 26" or more but it will have to be steel so you can weld it.

you need to weld the spindel to the main wheel so when it spins it spins the wheel with it not just the spindel on its own, you could take this out and replace it with a long rod which will go off to our generator.

Step 2: Attach the Generator

you now need to attach the generator, if you replaced the spindel with a rod then it will be nice and long so the wheel is away from the generator as we dont want the generator getting wet. if you havnt it would be good to attach a longer bar to the wheel and then to the generator.

the generator is a simple car alternator, i would recommend putting this inside a rabbit hutch or something simlar, just drill a hole in side and poke the rod through this will keep the rain and splash back from the wheel off the generator.

Step 3: Adding the Cups

Now you need to hot glue the cups at slight angles around the wheel so that they will catch the water as it falls. hot glue these to the wheel as well as the cup next to it.

by using hot glue it means it wont react with the water and go mushy like some glues would.

Step 4: Placement

you now need to place the wheel, i would recomend placing this over a body of water such as a pond.

place a flume above the wheel so that the end comes past the center of the wheel, guttering is ideal for this.

you will need a water source as well, ideally you would have a stream running through your garden so you could use that to channel water down your flume and run your wheel.

so it works by water coming down the flume, hitting the wheel, the weight and force of the water turn the wheel generating electricity through our alternator which can be hooked up to charge car batterys or leisure batterys for cars, electric fences (if your on a farm), or for other projects, you could even hook you phone up to it to charge it by water power.

i would like to make another suggestion, if you channel the drain pipe from you house to the flume the rain water collected from your house can be used in the wheel and then you could channel it to a water butt or drain. this would work really well here in the UK where we have a fair bit of rain.



    • Pocket-Sized Contest

      Pocket-Sized Contest
    • Pro Tips Challenge

      Pro Tips Challenge
    • Science of Cooking

      Science of Cooking

    We have a be nice policy.
    Please be positive and constructive.




    instead of using water and coffee cups you could use strong magnets to push the wheel round

    it was for a contest at the time to reuse coffee cups ;-)

    ok well good job. Very well done!

    how much power does this generate?

    Well that really depends on the alternator you use, the rate of water, the size of the wheel. it would be restricted by the amount the alternator can put out so if your using a Car alternator then 12v or a truck alternator 24v

    i cant see why not, you would need to scale down the wheel or maybe gear it as you wouldnt be able to connect directly to it, in fact if you gear it you should get more power out of it as you can make more revolutions per a single revolution of the large wheel.

     because this concept design would be even better if it was super cost effective and could be easily invested in by people with gutters.

    it is super cost efective, it uses an old bike wheel, coffee cups and a old car alternator from a scrap yard how much more cost effective could it be?

     I assumed an old car alternator costs money.. And it needs to be pretty i guess..  Just thinking out the idea. Need to fail to succeed.