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Hydropower: Clean Energy from Flowing Water

2023-04-06
Lingua:English
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Hydropower is the most widely used and affordable form of large-scale renewable energy, accounting for more than 18% of the world’s total power generation capacity, and more than 54% of global renewable power generation. On a smaller scale, individuals and communities around the world also harness the capabilities of hydropower to supplement their on-grid electricity. With careful planning and consideration for the environment, the micro-hydro system can be an ideal alternative to conventional power sources. On today’s show we’ll look at different ways people are implementing micro-hydro systems.

The YouTube channel Gridlessness recently featured a setup for an off-grid family home in the beautiful Canadian wilderness. The hydro-power system captures flowing water from a stream roughly 800 meters from the house, and pipes it directly to the Stream Engine. The system creates so much energy that excess power is used to heat the home’s hot water tank.

Over the years, approximately 400 micro-hydro power plants have been built in the most remote communities of Nepal, bringing modern electricity to over 500,000 citizens.

In Africa, several countries are experiencing severe energy shortages. This situation led Israel Habimana, a local electrician from Kirehe, Rwanda, to find a way to produce electricity for local neighborhoods through hydropower. “I never went to school, but that didn’t stop me from doing what I wanted to do, even if it was very difficult for me. I built this infrastructure so that life would change for me and for the surrounding population.”

Is it possible for water to power the engine of an automobile? The idea sounds a little far-fetched to a lot of people, but one US scientist and inventor proved it can be accomplished! To create the fuel, Mr. Meyer is said to have found an efficient way to split water atoms into their component elements, hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen is burned as the fuel source, and oxygen is released through the exhaust without any harmful chemicals entering the environment. He also created systems to implement the water fuel cell in any vehicle by only modifying certain aspects of the gas tank and engine without needing a major overhaul, estimating the cost of adjustments to be about US$1,500 for a standard automobile in the early 1990s. According to his calculation, driving from Los Angeles to New York City would take only about 22 gallons (83 liters) of water!
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