Author Options:

How to get energy from falling snow? Answered

From my research I've noticed that the only way people harvest energy from snow is through hydroelectric dams.  

Are there any other viable options?

Some ideas I've thought of:
-Spinners facing the sky that spin when weight falls on them
-artificial tree branches that hold a certain amount of snow and then get energy from the snap back.

Could this apply to falling leaves?


Snow by itself really doesn't have much stored or potential energy. It's 80% air and 20% water.

The only method that I can see working would be to use a large sloped metal roof as a collection system. When the snow melts it travels a downspout where a "turbine" can be added to collect the energy.

Theoretically, the snow has created the energy, but it requires a melting process to "concentrate" its energy and gains from falling in the downspout.

1. Snow flakes because of their crystalline structure have little mass for their size.
2. They tend to clump together
3. they stick to other things
4. they don't fall very regularly (at least not here)
4. I guess in principle you could build something that gatherer snow until it weighed enough to move a wheel etc to generate electricity.

As said water - Rain - has much greater possibilities.


6 years ago

Parents have been trying to harvest energy from snow for a long time. It happens when it snows outside and you hand the kids a shovel and ask them, "would you like to have dinner today?".
The energy in a snow flake falling is very small. Actually rain drops would be more significant. But the problem is that it is dispersed over such a wide area that its impossible to have any way of harnessing it. Not to mention the unpredictability of it. That's why the real energy is in the hydro, river part of it. Rivers naturally concentrate all the potential energy of precipitation and therefore provide the only practical way of making use of the energy of falling anything.

+1 about the parents thing. Then it got all science-y....

As others have said, the unpredictable, intermittent nature of both snow and leaf falls makes them unsuitable as energy sources.

> Catch snow in a high vessel, and then use the falling melt-water to generate hydro-electric power.

> Mulch the leaves to generate heat from decomposition, or burn them.


6 years ago

The only thing not mentioned is a thermal difference.
I think well temp is about 55º ..



6 years ago

Avalanche turbine.