What is Micro-Hydro power? 

Hydro power is a power generation through with the use of water as fuel. Hydro electricity is a clean source of energy. Hydro power plants have minimal carbon foot print. Next, it  is abundant mostly in tropical countries. These tropical countries have abundant source of water which can be good source of power. Moreover, Micro hydro power plant can already power a 5 hectare farm. Furthermore, in order to add value to your products you need to processing machines which requires a lot of power.  However, this value adding can be through adding this power generation machines.

Capacity range of hydro power

The resources for power generation can be divided into three (3) categories based on the power plant capacity. Hydro projects are classified as follows:

  1. Large hydro                 :           over 10 MW
  2. Mini-hydro                  :           over 100 kW to 10 MW
  3. Micro-hydro                :           100 kW and below

Components of Micro-Hydro power Plant

A micro-hydro power installation have this following components the weir, intake, settling basin and head race. Furthermore, micro hydro also needs the forebay, penstock, powerhouse, and distribution line in the structure. A hydro power plant must have these components to ensure quality service. Of course, agricultural engineers must ensure the quality construction the components. Ultimately, farmers must check the structural design must have the following  components.

The functions of the facilities are as follows:

  • Weir/Dam

The weir is primarily used to halt water flow and raise the water at sufficient level for diversion to the head race.

  • Intake

The intake structure is an opening at the weir to change the direction. It changes flow design of the discharge from the river to the power canal.

  • Settling basin

The settling basin designed is to collect and flush sediments and other water-suspended materials to avoid entry to the penstock and eventually to the turbine.

  • Headrace/power canal

The headrace delivers the water from the intake to the forebay. This component is normally made of concrete-lined open canal and/or close pipes.

Additional components

  • Forebay/head tank

A forebay is a pond-like structure at the top of the penstock to regulate flowof water. The component submerges the penstock inlet and receives the overflow and trash rack arrangements. Finally, it also serves as a final settling basin for suspended matters in the water.

  • Penstock/power conduit

A penstock is a pipe that conveys water under pressure from the forebay to the turbine.

  • Powerhouse

The powerhouse is the shelter for the electro-mechanical equipments (turbine, generator, controllers and panels). Moreover, the structure must have sufficient space for dismantling the equipment during repair and maintenance activities.

  • Distribution line

The distribution lines are wires that convey electricity to consumers. The step-up and step-down transformers and switch boxes should be installed, if necessary.

Benefits and Advantages of Micro-hydro power

In fact, the micro hydro power is an indigenous and renewable energy resource. Moreover, fuel is free and hydro power plants can be operated for a long period. Hydro electricity is used different countries however, when drought hits supply of hydro power also decreases. Hydro power plants should also make that their dams have less soil erosion. If there is great soil deposition in the hydro power plants it limits their storage of water. Thus, it limits the hydro electricity that is produced in the hydro power plants.  If the facilities of the system are properly operated and maintained it could last for a long time. Fortunately, there is a great quantity of micro-hydro power resources around the world.  These potential sites could provide good power generation. Finally, this could be effectively utilized for off-grid or isolated electrification. Can we say yes for hydro electricity?

For rural electrification, here are the advantages:

  • Micro-hydro is a mature and a proven technology. These can be managed by local communities.
  • Micro-hydro provides electricity not only for lightning but also for livelihood activities. It can also be utilized in multi-purpose development, such as irrigation, water supply and tourism.
  • Three (3) self policies (self-construction, self-management and self-utilization) by the local people is possible in micro-hydro development.
  • There are lots of potential sites nearby communities.
  • Micro hydro power is good for the environment.

Lastly, we shall remember that in power generation there is pros and cons. Nature provided hydro power. We should take care of the environment to have continual supply. Moreover,  it does not require fuel cost.  However, electricity from hydro power is not free. Of course, the end-user must pay electricity charge to cover operation and maintenance cost. The operators must also take into account administrative cost and cost for future replacement of facilities However, having your own mini hydro power plant will make sure help the environment. You must remember that this technology is a great way to cut your farm expenses. Finally, farmers should remember to contact agriculture engineers to make sure the proper installation.