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Hydroelectric powered aquaponics

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Energy is used to move the water in the first place, any energy recovered through hydro generators would be less than that originally expended. It would be more efficient to not move water any more than you absolutely have to than it would be to expend extra energy and then try to recover it. Now if for whatever reason the layout of your system requires you to pump water to high heights then you could consider energy recovery when the water flows back down. This is done in community piped water supplies in hilly areas, but again you only pump it high if you have to. That is unless of course you have a perpetual motion machine.

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The water is moving at a very low volume, there wouldn't be enough to run even the smallest power generation system that I am aware of. But as an idea there maybe be a way to generate a very limited power source, there has been some science fair projects where children were able to use vegetables to create batteries..:)

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I have been exploring this concept for quite a while now. Everyone usually has the same answer. My challenge is this: Why is it so rare for people to consider the energy contained within the magnets that are being turned in the generator to extract the electricity? You can build generators with extraordinarily strong magnets, some of which are said to retain their magnetism for 400+ years. So... if you combine the energy of the moving water with the energy contained within the magnets themselves, is it still impossible to extract energy in excess of that which is being created by the movement of the water?

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Hi,

Something else to note about hydro-electric systems is that they are about 80% efficient......and there's nothing else that generates electricity that comes remotely close. They are simple, reliable and robust.

They are also used by power generation utilities throughout the world for their capacity to "store electricity" ......pumping water uphill during off-peak periods and releasing it during periods of peak demand.

Gary

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Hi VC,

hydro systems that pump up to a storage area, and then use gravity to produce energy are extremely inefficient. They are only used to take advantage of peak power curves, as a way to "store" AC. But overall, they are very inefficient.

Sorry, I failed to make myself clear. What I was talking about was less a matter of pumping efficiency and more about financial leverage.

I was referring to the hedging practice of the power utilities who, generate electricity using nuclear, coal or natural gas fuels. During the night, when power is in least demand (and at its cheapest), they direct surplus capacity to the movement and storage of water into elevated dams. The following day, they put the water back through hydro-generators..... and sell the power the spot market at hugely inflated prices.

It is, in effect, a means of storing electricity.....so that it can be sold at the most profitable price.

Gary

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Or perhaps you could use a small wind mill to pump to a greater height - smaller flow, to then trickle down as needed from a header tank?

Or, pay the kids some pocket money to run out with a bucket every few hours...

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I like to read. I have been working on a generator for a long time. You have to know how to change the laws. Like gravity, IE if you drop something 100 time it will fall the same, but a 200 ton plain can stay in the air for hours. The law don't change but the sub laws that govern it do. In this example lift, force, and drag all play a part. So we have to thank out side the box and do things that other have not tried. Just like in aquaponics even the smallest change makes a big difference.

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I have been thinking of trying a hydroelectric aquaponics garden/farm for a bit now. Begin just like you would an in ground pool but with collums to support grow beds and a walk way on top. On one side have a fish proof grate that drops your water into a water turbine and from the turbine intto a water reservior. When the reservior gets high enough it is pumped back into the pound. Should create enough electricity to run the whole operation

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Hi Solas,

 

Welcome to APN.

 

The energy involved in raising the water to the reservoir would outweigh that generated by its descent through the turbine......or is there something I missed in your explanation of your idea?

 

Gary

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It is my attention to try using a number of bell siphons

 

You still have to get the water to its highest point......presumably with a pump of some sort.  The energy expended in getting the water to the highest point will be more than that gained by driving any generating device with the water as it gravitates back to the lowest point.

 

If it was otherwise, you'd have a perpetual motion machine......and you'd be a very rich man - since no such thing currently exists.

 

Having said that, I'm open to new ideas.....

 

Gary

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Looks like I'm about 9 years late replying to this but this is a concept I think about constantly as well. Some of the big questions I have found are:

-Is the flow (LPM) strong enough to turn a turbine to generate power? What is the minimum needed for this to be viable?

-Will placing a hydroelectric turbine in the system effect bacterial colonization?

-Is there a possibility of creating a terraced aquaponics system which will create greater head from which the water to drop and therefore generate a higher volume of energy?

Additionally, one potential way to incorporate hydroelectric into the system is through the use of I believe what is called the Kaplan turbine. This turbine would operate as both a filter and through the vacuum it creates, a pump as well. All the while it could also be generating electricity, even if just enough to help offset some of the energy costs associated with running an aquaponics farm. 

If anyone would like to discuss this in more detail, please reach out to me. I am looking for others to discuss designing and building a proof of concept on this, what I have coined CLAEYS: Closed Loop Aquaponic Energy Yield System.

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Hi Benson and welcome to APN,

Tell us more about how you are thinking about applying this to your situation. Some questions off the top of my head

  • Are you thinking about  just investing in a small home scale turbine and only applying it to your aquaponics or applying it to your home as well?
  • How will you get the water flow needed to run the turbine? Do you have a river or are you thinking about some sump arrangement with a pump to create a head and flow?
  • Do you have a suburban house or property in the country?

On a whole of house scale, I don't have a country property with flowing water running through it. About 9 or 10 years ago I did think about a property with the view of adding hydro so I could stay off grid. The conclusion I came up with regarding hydro is you really need to be an electrician to be able to maintain the electrical side of a hydro plant, plus by the time you invested in hydro and the extra effort you needed at the time to run it it was easier to run on grid, so I did not continue my research into the hydro side of it. Like solar and solar energy storage things may of changed now. Co incidentally, if you are interested in looking at another alternative energy you may like to look at my thread called bigdaddy's alternative energy. I have recently posted what I have been doing in that regard.

I'd be interested in what you do so please keep us posted.

Cheers.

Edited by bigdaddy (see edit history)

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