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Can you create a hydroelectric generator using a pump from a fire fighting pump

  1. Mar 25, 2017 #1
    wanting to know if you could create a hydro system using an old firefighting pump discarding the old petrol or electric motor and replacing it with an generator or alternator. water would flow into the pump which would drive the generator
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 25, 2017 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    Welcome to the PF.

    It sounds pretty inefficient. Can you post pictures and specs on the FF pump? What type of pump mechanism is it?
  4. Mar 25, 2017 #3
  5. Mar 25, 2017 #4


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    That looks like a centrifugal pump so I doubt you would be able to do anything with it.
  6. Mar 25, 2017 #5
    what type of pump would you need?
  7. Mar 26, 2017 #6
  8. Mar 26, 2017 #7


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  9. Mar 26, 2017 #8
  10. Mar 26, 2017 #9


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    Some, but not all pumps will work in reverse as turbines.
    Some, but not all turbines will work in reverse as pumps.
    An introduction to the term “turbine” is critical to learning about hydroelectric power generation.
  11. Mar 29, 2017 #10
    Yes you can
    The real question is if the amount of work is worth doing
    Crack that thing open show us what your working with.
  12. Apr 1, 2017 #11
    That would depend largely on what type of fire pump you are looking at. Most modern fire pumps are a multistage device with sliding valves and auto pressure recirculation. This allows them to recirculate internally when there is no flow and increase the flow themselves as the requirements increase. They are also capable of delivery different pressures to separate outlets. Without defeating or bypassing these functions I do not think it would work as a prime mover.
    If it is an older strictly single stage it should work relatively well.

    Oops, followed the thread a little further and saw the picture. I agree that it is probably a centrifugal pump and would be very low efficiency if you could even get it to work.
  13. Apr 4, 2017 #12
  14. Apr 4, 2017 #13
  15. Apr 4, 2017 #14
    If the design were right it might work but most likely only efficiently under a narrow range of operating conditions. Do you have a performance graph for the pump? Open her up and take pictures.

    This paper addresses some issues, https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijrm/2013/279049/

    "Characteristics of Centrifugal Pumps Working in Direct or Reverse Mode: Focus on the Unsteady Radial Thrust"

    "... On the other hand, a growing number of small hydroelectric power stations (5 to 100 kW [6]) are being developed due to their extremely attractive operating costs. However, the initial investment for the equipment is rather high. This is why the use of standard range centrifugal pumps operating in turbine mode has become a credible alternative to hydraulic turbines since their much lower cost and the wide variety of machines (in terms of operating points and dimensions) make it possible to significantly reduce equipment costs. ..."
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