Company unveils small personal-sized hydroelectricity generator

Dec 14, 2012 by Bob Yirka report

(Phys.org)—Japanese company Ibasei has unveiled a new idea in hydroelectricity generation; a turbine that can be placed in virtually any fast moving stream or river to generate small amounts of electricity for immediate use or as a charging station. Called the Cappa, it resembles an engine on a jet aircraft and can be easily placed into a location in just minutes.

The idea behind the Cappa is that not all hydroelectric systems need to be huge, and they don't have to plug a river or be situated at an optimal location either. Instead, any spot where the river narrows causing swift movement of the water can be used. The Cappa is put in place by fashioning a couple of spans of some sort across the river or stream to form bridges. The turbine is then lowered into the water and held in place by the frame resting on the span. Once in the water, the Cappa goes to work without any further ado. For water running at 2 m/s the turbine will generate about 250 W of electricity. Placing five of them in a stream could conceivably produce up to a 1 kW (allowing for control losses). To increase the efficiency of the turbine, engineers have tailored a diffuser that causes water flowing over the blades to move faster.

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Spokespeople for the Cappa say the generator has been developed for a variety of purposes, from use as in-place generators at outdoor parks to emergency backup systems, particularly in the event of a flood. They also see it as an alternative to gas powered generators that people use when the goes out. A single Cappa isn't capable of running a whole house of course, but it would be good enough to keep the lights on; and if it were used in conjunction with a system, perhaps in tandem with other , a homeowner who happens to have a stream running through their yard might find it helps reduce utility bills.

One stumbling block the company might face is hesitation by consumers due to the high price of the Cappa, which reps say is about the same as a compact automobile. They add that they expect to be ready to begin selling the generators sometime next year.

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User comments : 13

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alq131
2.8 / 5 (6) Dec 14, 2012
if you think of a house as trying to be energy self-contained, you could pop (a version) of this on the grey water or sewer outflow and recapture some wasted energy. or home owners (maybe in rural areas) could use wind/solar to pump water into a personal water tower, then use this to recover the energy when the wind or solar isn't generating, to put power back into their battery storage. coupled with LED lighting, you might just be able to reduce a lot of grid demand.
drmed92
1 / 5 (3) Dec 14, 2012
I think that They should add more blades to the van, it could greatly increase the efficiency of the machine.
chaganti
3 / 5 (6) Dec 14, 2012
Dear sir, this Idea is already applied for patents in 2008 for using a PIPE and fixing the turbine inside the pipe IN THE path of the flowing water. In 2009 a second patent is filed with a PCT application.
We call this "IN-PIPE CASCADING HYDRO POWER GENERATION" by chaganti
ValeriaT
3.3 / 5 (7) Dec 14, 2012
recapture some wasted energy. or home owners.. you might just be able to reduce a lot of grid demand.
It will definitely increase the consumption of raw sources and mining companies. For example, here you can find a cooper pipe regenerating the heat from sewer outflow, but it's so expensive, it will not pay itself during its whole life time. Such a way of "savings" just wastes the precious materials.
Shiwa
1 / 5 (2) Dec 14, 2012
This x RepRap x 'rural electric engineer' = RepRap
Electricity x RepRap x 'rural electric engineer' = This

See the pattern?

ps. string parser in this comment method SUCKS!
pss. does this support ANY formatting?
packrat
3 / 5 (6) Dec 14, 2012
Nothing special. Companies have been selling small water turbine alternator/generator setup's for years. Vastly overpriced from what I can see in the picture and the stated power output capabilities.
Eikka
5 / 5 (5) Dec 14, 2012
on the grey water or sewer outflow and recapture some wasted energy


I think you over-estimate the amount of sewage a house will produce. If the tube diameter is about 10 cm and the flow is 1 m/s you need about 8 liters per second flowing through it. Think about throwing a bucket of water down the drain every second and you're in the ballpark. There's nothing in your house that would generate such a waste stream for any appreciable amount of time.

Argiod
1 / 5 (3) Dec 14, 2012
Too pricey for what it does. There was a really nice turbine in the old Whole Earth Catalog that only needed two feet of headwater to generate enough power for a 10,000 sq ft home. I'll come back in a few years when they've worked out the tool-up costs and refine the design.
scidog
not rated yet Dec 15, 2012
hydro must be fairly common in some parts of the world.i recall a travel program a few years ago where the arrival of a American film crew gave the local elders a chance to make a case for a small hydro generator for their mountain village.
so even at the end of the path,let alone a road,a system like this was on peoples mind and not so uncommon it could be put on a wish list.
i think a TV dish was on the list too.
ShotmanMaslo
4 / 5 (4) Dec 15, 2012
This is a great idea, but why such high price? I fail to see why a 250 W turbine has to cost that much.
packrat
3 / 5 (4) Dec 15, 2012
This is a great idea, but why such high price? I fail to see why a 250 W turbine has to cost that much.


It shouldn't cost anywhere near that much from looking at the parts involved and could be made by anyone with a little mechanical ability. I'm a member of a number of different Yahoo message groups comprised of folks that build this kind of stuff and this isn't impressive at all for something commercially made.
_traw_at
not rated yet Dec 15, 2012
For example, here you can find a http://delafleur....m=201012 regenerating the heat from sewer outflow, but it's so expensive, it will not pay itself during its whole life time. Such a way of "savings" just wastes the precious materials.


No wonder it won't pay for itself: this system is un-insulated.

These heat recovery systems are supposed to be insulated. The GFX product here is wrapped in foam, and can recapture up to 50% of the heat that goes down the drain.
'GFX' is short for Gravity Field Exchange. These would be used on greywater waste lines (from showers, baths, and laundry machines), not on sewer lines, because the internal structure of the pipes would quickly plug up if blackwater from the toilet, and the solids that contains, flowed through it.

These GFX systems can pay for themselves relatively quickly. In a few years in some cases, longer in other ones.

http://www.gfxtechnology.com/

When I build my house I probably will install this GFX system.
Lurker2358
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 16, 2012
It shouldn't cost anywhere near that much from looking at the parts involved and could be made by anyone with a little mechanical ability. I'm a member of a number of different Yahoo message groups comprised of folks that build this kind of stuff and this isn't impressive at all for something commercially made.


I think the Greenpowerscience guy from youtube could build something twice as efficient on his spare time for a few hundred dollars.