Residential eco-consumers search for low-impact equipment to shrink their homes’ carbon footprints. Many homeowners are targeting energy-related emissions with alternative electricity sources. Solar panels and wind turbines can generate abundant amounts of electricity in some regions.
Areas with minimal sunlight and weak wind patterns may benefit from hydropower. The largest quantity of renewable energy globally comes from hydroelectricity. Environmental engineers are developing small-scale hydropower systems to meet eco-consumer demands and global sustainability goals.
Micro-hydropower Technological Advancements
Micro-hydropower systems contain natural water sources, turbines or pumps, generators, regulators and electrical wires. The systems rely on flowing water and a vertical drop to create consistent pressurized energy supplies. Mini hydropower devices collect a flowing water source in a chute.
The chute filters the water down to a turbine or pump. Turbines and pumps connect to power inverters, which maximize electricity outputs. The technology can convert a low voltage energy source into 240 volts of electricity at most.
Mini hydropower systems produce electricity around the clock because rivers and creeks flow consistently. Solar panels and wind turbines rely on inconsistent weather patterns, which make their electricity outputs unreliable. Microhydropower systems can increase the reliability and resilience of residential electricity supplies.
Implementing Hydropower into the Residential Sector
Residents can install micro-hydropower systems on their properties to optimize their independent electricity supplies. Individuals may first determine which water source will best support their electricity needs. Homeowners may receive an energy audit before installing a micro-hydroelectricity system.
Energy audits assess residents’ daily electricity use. Auditors explore the electricity consumption rates of appliances, heaters, air conditioners and residents’ daily practices. An energy audit takes up to four hours and provides residents with their complete electricity consumption data.
Once residents receive their electricity use data, they can determine the necessary flow rate for their micro-hydropower systems. Individuals can estimate power outputs from hydroelectric systems using a predetermined calculation. The calculation multiplies the flow rate, gravity, head and water density to determine the electricity output.
Residential Benefits of Hydropower
Residents can access various environmental and economic benefits by installing micro-hydropower systems. Hydropower relies on natural water sources instead of fossil fuels. The system releases zero greenhouse gas emissions while generating electricity, which prevents atmospheric degradation.
Individuals can also use hydroelectric systems to eliminate freshwater exploitation. They may power rainwater harvesting systems with micro-hydropower devices to reduce contaminated runoff and atmospheric degradation. Residents can also use the power and water reclamation systems during water emergencies.
Hurricanes and other natural disasters can cause local water supply contamination. Consuming polluted water sources increases residents’ risks for waterborne illnesses and other health conditions. Installing micro-hydropower systems can also decrease residents’ utility costs.
Hydroelectricity is the most affordable clean energy source on the market. Residents pay around $0.05 for each kilowatt-hour of hydroelectricity. Hydropower’s affordability may influence global environmental sustainability.
Diversifying the Clean Electric Grid
Many countries are establishing emission-reduction goals. America developed a grid decarbonization goal to minimize energy-related pollution. Energy professionals can achieve grid decarbonization by diversifying electricity sources.
Solar and wind power support many regions of the nation. Other states experience low solar and wind energy production rates from inconsistent weather patterns. Adding micro-hydropower systems to the grid could increase national, emission-free electricity supplies.
Hydropower systems have high and consistent electricity output rates. Installing independent power sources may also reduce stress on local electricity grids. Eliminating emission-producing energy sources from the grid can protect human health and the global ecosystem.
Are Micro-hydropower Systems Accessible?
Micro-hydropower systems are accessible to many residents around the world. If individuals have a flowing body of water by their properties, they may install mini-hydropower systems. Many companies are manufacturing mini hydroelectric turbines and generators to meet eco-consumers demands.
Eco-conscious residents can install micro-hydropower systems near flowing water sources to access affordable electricity. The energy sources are also reliable and resilient. They prevent the adverse effects relating to power outages.
About the author: Jane works as an environmental and energy writer. She is also the founder and editor-in-chief of Environment.co