Richele S Microhydro Essay

Microhydro Generators

There are many ways to create electricity, from batteries to bikes. For my science project, I researched the microhydro generator, which is a motor powered by water. They all usually have a turbine, or a water wheel that will spin continuously as long as there is a constant flow of pressurized water hitting it. The water travels through a long pipe called a penstock and onto the turbine. On larger scale ones there is usually a dam set up that will slow the natural flow of the river, so that it will build a reservoir behind it. Having the reservoir behind ensures a long lasting amount of water to power the turbine. The turbine is connected to an electrical generator so that when the water hits it, the spinning turbine powers the motor.

Inside a motor, electricity is generated through wires. Electrons, which are part of an atom, carry a negative charge through the wire. This is called the current. When the electrons go through the wire or any other conductor, it creates a magnetic charge. When there are more electrons in one place, the charge will be stronger. To create an electromagnet, you wind magnetic wire around a nail a bunch of times and connect each end to a battery or some other power source. Now, when you put an iron object close to the electromagnet, the iron turns into a very strong magnet. Once you shut off the electro magnet, the iron is no longer a magnet. There is another way to conduct this electricity, without a battery. You can push the electrons through. This can be done with something like a hand crank, or a water turbine. When it is turned, it creates frictions and sends electrons to a wire that is near an insulated coil. The coils create a flow of electrons that develops into an electrical current. That current goes to whatever the object is that you’re powering. This is how a micro hydro generator generates electricity. By the turbine turning it pushes the electrons while there are insulated coils near it so that those coils will pick up the magnetic charge to power the generator.

There are two basic parts to a micro hydro generator; the rotor and the stator. The rotor is what generates energy, while the stator is what has the coils and stays still and collects all the energy. The rotor has powerful magnets that will make the electric current in the generator greater. They are both disk shaped. There should be a small hole in the middle of both the stator and the rotor. The hole in the stator is bigger than the one in the rotor. It is about one centimeter. You will need to cut eight four-centimeter long strips of wire. Set these aside for later. Next you will need to coil wire. You can do this by wrapping it around a jig, 3cm by 16cm folded in half. You will need to leave about a 10cm lead of wire so that you can still connect it later. You will need to wrap it 200 times around the jig tightly. You will need to slip the coil off of the jig and tape the sides so that it doesn’t come unraveled. Next you will want to use sand paper to strip the ends of the wire so that it’s bare. You will need to make three more after that. You will lay those on the stator loosely being sure to make the coils go clockwise, then counter clockwise and so on. You can now connect all of the coils together so that the electrons can travel through them with the extra ten cm lead you left. You should now check your connections with a multimeter in ohms. Once you’re sure that your connections are good you need to hot glue them all onto the stator. Now get four magnets. Use a compass to find out which side is north, and which is south. Now you hot glue the magnets to the rotor alternating polarity, north, south, north and south one in each quarter of the circle. Now you will need to cut dowel to be 20cm long. After that you should sharpen the end of it with a pencil sharpener. Use a ¼ in drill bit to drill a hole through the center of a cork. Make eight slits about 3cm apart in the cork with a utility knife. Now cut off the entire handle of the spoon except 1cm. now glue each of the spoons in the slits you made in the cork. Add some hot glue to each spoon to make sure it’s stuck on there. Next get a windshield washer fluid bottle and cut off the bottom. Take off any labels on it. Now with a ruler find the center of the bottle on each side. Mark it. Now on each mark you made you need to drill a ¼” through on both sides. Now line up the hole on the stator with the hole on the side of the container. Push a nail through to connect it. Make sure the nail fits tightly. Now make slits in-between each coil and go all the way through the container. Now use brass push pins to connect the rotor to the stator. Now cut vinyl tubing so that there are two sections about 1cm long. Slide the dowel through the hole in the stator. Now position the turbine inside the container so that the spoons are facing the top. Now push the dowel through the turbines cork and through the hole on the other side. Put a part of the tube over the hole and be sure to put the dowel through that. Now slide the other half on the other side of the container. Make sure that when you spin the rotor it doesn’t wobble. When you’re sure it doesn’t you can hot glue it to stay in place.

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