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How much water does it take? Answered

i was   curious if  anyone could  tell me    how  much  water   (pressure/ volume)  it takes   to turn  a  small  hydro  power generator?   I ask because i  have  about 120 ft. of fall  from   the  top of my   property  to the bottom.  I was curious   how  hard  it would   be    be to  gravity  water through  a  hydro station    at  the lower  end.

I plan   on reading up  on  some     small  generators , but  thought someone has   probably already    knows  the answer.The  ones   i seen   on another post   did not    get into the   pressure    volume   information.

Thanks  for any help  you   could   give.


You need to know how much VOLUME of water you can drop through the turbine per second.

I'm doing the calculations in metric units. 120 feet is 36.6 metres.

Every US gallon (3.78 litres) weighs 3.78 kg, so if you drop that, you release 3.78 x g x 36.6 Joules every second.

That scales directly with volume, so half the flow, half the power,twice the flow, twice the power.

= 1378 Joules/second, and joule per second = 1Watt, so you have 1.3 kW of power to play with.

You'll lose some energy in the process, and you don't  use a waterwheel if you can help it, you'd use a Pelton wheel or a water turbine for preference.


thanks everyone . that helps alot . I wil investigate more. andy


8 years ago

Not sure if this would be the best answer, but check this out here and here.
It's called a Gravitational Vortex Generator. Really cool.

Anyway, hope this helps.

input = output. So long as the flow is constant (ish) you can expect to extract whatever energy you put into the water system. Virtually any size turbine is available. Ep = mgh.