Seeker's Survival Prep
The Basics
Power Generation

Modern Man has gotten used to having electricity as a normal part of every day life; lighting, electric appliances such as the refrigerator, stove, washing machine and dryer, dishwashers and hot water heaters; some of these such as the refrigerator make life much easier since they allow for food to be kept far longer that with out it; other things can be done without but would be sorely missed.

If your homestead site has  a flowing creek or small river, there are many various ways that it can be utilized and harnessed to produce electricity, especially if the terrain will allow for the construction of a pond or small lake. The traditional water wheel in a sluice box can be used to spin alternators, just have to use a series of reduction pulleys to step up the rpms of the unit; 2000 rpm is optimal for the alternator to function efficiently, and has a basil load of approximately 7 horsepower under max load; basically what this entails is, if you are using a six foot diameter water wheel with enough water to turn it ten revolutions a minute, and have a 24" diameter pulley on the wheel shaft coupled by a belt to 2.4" pulley on a counter shaft,  you have a 10:1 ratio, netting 100 rpm at the counter shaft; another 10:1 step to a second counter shaft will net 1,000 rpm; the second shaft will need a 2.5:1 ratio to spin your alternator at the required 1,000-2,500 rpm.

Utilizing a Pelton wheel is a much more efficient setup than the traditional wheel; it is smaller, with cupped blades, and can be spun at higher rpms with the same amount of water. Head pressure, measured in feet of drop from the weir box to the wheel is the key here; a weir box allows the water to exit the pond into a discharge pipe with transfers the water downward at an incline, using gravity to build pressure; the distance from the weir to the wheel isn't as important as the height difference between the 2; 10 feet of vertical drop gives quite a bit of pressure; the pipe itself needs to be 8-10" in diameter with a 2" gate valve and short nipple at the discharge point at the wheel so you can regulate the flow of water, hence helping control the rpms of the wheel; 250 wheel rpm can be translated into 2500 alternator rpm relatively simply and easily; enclosing the nozzle and wheel in a cover will keep everything dry, and used in an enclosed area such as your power room with your storage batteries and inverter/control system allows you to keep everything in one location and protected from the elements.

From Wiki:

"The Pelton wheel is an impulse type water turbine. It was invented by Lester Allan Pelton in the 1870s.[1][2] The Pelton wheel extracts energy from the impulse of moving water, as opposed to water's dead weight like the traditional overshot water wheel. Many variations of impulse turbines existed prior to Pelton's design, but they were less efficient than Pelton's design. Water leaving those wheels typically still had high speed, carrying away much of the dynamic energy brought to the wheels. Pelton's paddle geometry was designed so that when the rim ran at half the speed of the water jet, the water left the wheel with very little speed; thus his design extracted almost all of the water's impulse energy—which allowed for a very efficient turbine."


These same principals apply to using wind power, whether by conventional wind generators, turbines, or Coriolis turbines, or using solar panels; all can be tied into the same system or used as stand alone; however, the sun doesn't always shine, and the wind doesn't always blow, so a system combining all three would be the best option.

In areas that are not suitable for building a pond but that do have a running stream of water, ram hydraulic pumps can be used to pump water into a storage tank; again, the key is the amount of drop from the tank to the wheel; the more head(drop) the more pressure available and the less water needed.

From Wikipedia:

"A hydraulic ram, or hydram, is a cyclic water pump powered by hydropower. It takes in water at one "hydraulic head" (pressure) and flow rate, and outputs water at a higher hydraulic head and lower flow rate. The device uses the water hammer effect to develop pressure that allows a portion of the input water that powers the pump to be lifted to a point higher than where the water originally started. The hydraulic ram is sometimes used in remote areas, where there is both a source of low-head hydropower and a need for pumping water to a destination higher in elevation than the source. In this situation, the ram is often useful, since it requires no outside source of power other than the kinetic energy of flowing water."

A ram pump has 2 moving parts; water, and a flapper(exhaust) valve.

The Mother Earth News has much detailed and useful information on wind,water, and solar power generation.

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