Sunday, December 27, 2009

Mae Jo micro-hydro meeting

We're excited about working with Mae Jo village to make Thailand's first community-owned grid-connected micro-hydropower project. In this photo Chom is leading a community meeting to discuss the project.

The planned project will use water from an existing irrigation dam and pipe. The water drops 15 meters, with a flow measured at 290 liters/second. With a modest investment, the existing water infrastructure can be used to generate about 25 kW of electricity. The system can be built and operated in a way that will have zero impact on water quality, zero change in water flow regime, and thus zero negative impact to farmers. The micro-hydro turbine will make useful electricity from the energy in the water that is currently wasted churning against the concrete structure inside the valve-house. Any profits from the community-owned project will go to community development and watershed management.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Kre Khi micro-hydro construction

In February 2009 I was blessed with the opportunity to join the Border Green Energy Team (BGET) in doing another pump-as-turbine micro-hydro at Kre Khi village in Tha Song Yang Amphur, Tak province. This video, taken by Yai at Alternative Energy Project for Sustainability, captures the spirit the project, and why these projects are so addictive! We had Karen-Thai villagers, students from Mae La refugee camp, students from the Village Studies program (USA), and BGET team members all working together for a week to build this project. Moving cement. Moving rocks. Digging. Setting power poles and stringing wires. Building the power house. Setting pipe (I realize that the team could use some public health education on proper ways to apply PVC glue...)

Technical data:
Weir: local rocks and sandbags with concrete layer to reduce leakage
Head & flow: 10 meters, 10 liters/second
Penstock: 200 meters, 6" PVC
Turbine type: Pump-as-turbine using an Ebara end-suction pump (3 phase, 240 vac)
Power generation: 1 kW
Power line distance: 800 meters
Power used for: powering school, teacher's home, and Buddhist temple

For engineering folks out there -- at the end of the video we still didn't have the electronic load controller (ELC) installed, so voltage is a bit variable.

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Monday, February 18, 2008

3 kW 'pump as turbine' microhydro at Mae Wei village, Tak Province:

This 3-kW micro-hydropower project is in Mae Wei village, Tha Song Yang District, Tak Province, Thailand. It uses a centrifugal pump 'running backwards' as a turbine. It was installed over 10 days in February 2008 by a team of villagers from Mae Wei, Engineering Studies Program (ESP) students from the Mae La refugee camp, American students from the Institute for Village Studies and Spring Street High School, BGET team members and Palang Thai. The photo on the left shows the power house under construction, with 4" PVC penstock pipe in place.

Click here or on the photo for a video!

Click here for 60+ photos

Technical info: Water drops 35 meters (vertical) through a four-inch PVC pipe spinning the pump's impeller. The pump's induction motor creates 3-phase 240-volt (delta) electricity which is converted to single-phase 240 volt through a 'C-2C' capacitor arrangement. A Leonics micro-hydro controller dumps excess electricity to a resistive ballast load. The project powers lights in 16 classrooms and a dormitory and teacher's homes, 10 computers, and video equipment.

Equipment cost: under 100,000 baht (US$3,300)


500 watt micro-hydro, Mae Klang Luang village, Chiang Mai Province

This 500 watt turgo turbine provides power to an eco-training center at Mae Klang Luang, Chiang Mai Province. The turbine cost 5000 baht (US$166). Click here or on the photo to see a video. The project was built in two days by Somsak Khiriphumtong and Chris Greacen.

Mae Klang Luang village $130 microhydro

Click on the picture to see a video of this 200 watt low-head francis turbine installed at Mae Klang Luang village, Chiang Mai Province.
Installed November 2007 by local village leader Somsak Khiriphumtong and Chris Greacen.

The turbine cost $90 complete with controller, purchased from Vietnam. Pipe and wire added another $40 or so.

An article in the April/May 2008 edition of Home Power Magazine features this installation. Click here or on the magazine page picture for full article.