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Ivan's Creek: Low-head hydro-electric power

  1. Jan 18, 2006 #1

    Integral

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    Got a call from Ivan yesterday, seems the creek was flowing full. Here are some pics.

    Here is the foot bridge he as spoken (writen?) of:
    [​IMG]

    Last summer the deer were bedding down under this tree:
    [​IMG]

    Another shot of the creek:

    [​IMG]
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 18, 2006 #2

    Astronuc

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    Ivan, have you thought of a hydroelectric plant up stream? :biggrin:
     
  4. Jan 18, 2006 #3

    Ivan Seeking

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    Avg min flows [8 months] : 30 CFS
    Max flow : 300 CFS
    Max Head possible : 5 Ft
    Expected avg power production: 5KW
    Dam :$3500
    Gen and electrical :$2500
    Turbine :Banki Crossflow < $1000
    Pay back <3 Years?
    Nope, never thought about it. :biggrin:
    For perspective, that bridge is 4.5 feet above the creek bed, it has about a 20 foot span, and the water is moving at about eight to ten feet per second [surface, center of stream]. When we bought this place we thought that it was just a nice little creek. :surprised

    If I ever do it I plan to use the power for heat with a variable load to ensure max eff of the turbine. The remaining heating coils could run off of line power as needed. Any excess power would be directed to a pre-heater tank installed ahead of the regular water heater. This way I can avoid all of the complications of having to produce clean, 60 Hz power. I could even go DC.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2006
  5. Jan 18, 2006 #4

    Ivan Seeking

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    Integral didn't want to cross the bridge. :confused:
     
  6. Jan 18, 2006 #5

    Evo

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    Geeze, you guys have been getting a lot of rain lately, haven't you?
     
  7. Jan 18, 2006 #6

    Ivan Seeking

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    I had to drive through two 'lakes' on the road on the way to work yesterday. :biggrin:
     
  8. Jan 18, 2006 #7

    Tsu

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    Dang. That's ^ MY post. :grumpy:

    i sure wish ivan would remember to log off my computer when he's done.... :rolleyes:
     
  9. Jan 18, 2006 #8

    Evo

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    You know you could destroy his reputation, right? :biggrin:
     
  10. Jan 18, 2006 #9

    Tsu

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    Oh, yes. :devil: It's my ace in the hole. How do you think I get my way as much as I do? :biggrin: And that's not even taking into account what I could do to him in the MENTORS forum!! :devil: :rofl: :rofl:
     
  11. Jan 18, 2006 #10
    Why thats a beautiful creek! I guess even creeks want to be a river, every now and then.
     
  12. Jan 18, 2006 #11
    .......

    .........

    .............

    i thought this was a pitch for a new pf show about a teenage ivan and his exploits in a small town with all his hot friends who all sleep with each other at some point.
     
  13. Jan 18, 2006 #12

    Math Is Hard

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    LOL :rofl: That's the first thing I thought, too. That stupid theme song is stuck in my head now!
     
  14. Jan 18, 2006 #13

    chroot

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    Wouldn't the installation of a dam end up producing a (potentially very large) lake behind it? Wouldn't this need considerable environmental study and collaboration with downstream residents and so on? I'm actually curious about the feasability.

    - Warren
     
  15. Jan 18, 2006 #14

    Ivan Seeking

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    If the dam were located near the foot bridge, the maximum head might be obtained by doing some dozing work down stream. At that point I have enough storage up-stream to accomodate the water level without backing up water on the adjacent property.

    Since it is a seasonal creek and is known not to contain anadromous fish populations, and since I have water rights as it crosses the property, in principle I can do this with almost no regulation. I would need a good number of permits to start but most of those are really just a formality. However, a couple could be sticky, esp mainly when it comes to approval from the neighbors. The next property on either side [up-stream and down-stream] would have to agree to the installation.

    Oregon really was encouraging low-head hydro for a while, and part of the economic feasibility was based on the 30% tax credit that was once available. This is not available any longer but I believe that there are still federal tax credits available.

    Even though oxygenation of the water is problem with any turbine, apparently low-head systems escape most environmental regulation; presumably since the benefits are believed to outweigh the costs. Note also that by design, the electrical would be isolated from the grid, thus reducing the number of regulations and avoiding the famous $10K safety switch.

    Of course the real key here in the backwoods is that you do what you want as long as you don't bother anyone. To tell you the truth, the county officials would probably have a heart attack if I walked in the office with the engineering plans. But for me the other key point is that my experience in the real world tells me that there are too many variables involved here to be certain of how it would work out, and I have never done this because in spite of the numbers, my gut tells me that I won't come out ahead on this one. I keep waiting for a change of heart.

    Edit: If we had a five foot water fall I wouldn't hesitate [except perhaps due to cosmetics], but I suspect that maintenance of the creek bed would kill it. I need four feet of effective head or the whole thing falls apart. At that point the turbine's eff curve drops like a rock as it starts to function improperly, and getting those four feet is not only the hardest part of the job, the maintenance requirements afterwards are some of the greatest unknowns. It can be a very dynamic creek; as you can see.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2006
  16. Jan 18, 2006 #15
    YAY for MIH!! i always feel silly when i go to a thread for the entirely wrong reason. but soon as i first saw the thread title, i went and downloaded the song...

    "i don't wanna wait for our lives to be over!
    i wanna know right now what will it be.
    i don't wanna wait for our lives to be over!
    oh will it be, yes oh will it be.... something... "

    gosh that dawson was a cute guy..
     
  17. Jan 18, 2006 #16

    Ivan Seeking

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    Btw, the really nice things about the Banki turbine are that it is easy to design and build, it can be made with inexpensive pipe and steel, and the flow is mainly laminar, so the oxygenation should be kept to a minimum.
     
  18. Jan 19, 2006 #17

    Integral

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    [​IMG]

    The state of the stream today... Not nearly as exciting.
     
  19. Jan 19, 2006 #18

    Moonbear

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    Wow, what a difference from yesterday! It looks all sweet and innocent today.
     
  20. Jan 19, 2006 #19
    I wish I could get invited to visit a nice place like that
     
  21. Jan 20, 2006 #20

    Ivan Seeking

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    Here is a pic of the '96 flood - a 500 year flood! You can see the foot bridge just to the right. We had tree stumps that weighed at least 500 pounds, out in the pasture afterwards. Edit: All of the water that you see actually entered our property as a confined flow in the creek bed, then over-flowed and spread out from there. It was a sight to behold. S.W.A.G.: 2000 CFS

    Then a similar shot to Integral's, in the snow.

    The creek is really cool and it has entertained the hydraulic engineer in me for many hours. Having a place like this is no small challenge, especially for a Los Angeles city-boy like me, and there are many negatives as well as positives, but the creek is a big plus for sure. We do love it.


    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2006
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