The generation of electricity in small hydropower plants is not only ecologically but also economically interesting.
Using the energy of water has been practiced for ages. People started using water wheels in rivers and the mill or the sawmill rattled on the rushing brook
We still use the power of water today, albeit with the application of technical innovations. In small hydropower plants, electricity can be produced around the clock, CO2-free and therefore environmentally friendly. The generation of electricity in small hydropower plants is not only ecologically but also economically interesting. Rising energy and raw material prices as well as fluctuations in the energy market (oil, gas and coal markets) are always viewed with particular concern in the world. Small hydropower is therefore an ideal alternative to fossil fuels and makes a major contribution to positive economic development.
The generation of energy from hydropower works as follows:
The kinetic energy of the water moves the paddle wheels in the turbines.
The turbines run generators that convert mechanical energy into electricity.
One rule applies to hydropower plants: the more water and the more gradient, the better. Both factors increase the resulting hydropower.
Components of a small hydropower plant
- Weir / dam structures – the river’s water is completely or partially dammed, creating a height difference, the so-called drop height. The greater the height of fall of the water, the greater the power of the water that is used to generate energy.
- Water extraction systems – are used to extract water from the river and to separate floating matter
- Umleitungskanale, Rohrleitungen – leiten das Wasser an die Maschineneinheit
- Relief structures – serve to discharge the runoffs that significantly exceed the normal level
- Power house KWKW
- Machine unit consisting of turbines, generators and automatic control system
Run-of-river power plant
is installed in the course of a large river and continuously generates electricity through the flow of water.
Storage power plant
is usually integrated in a dam. Electricity can be obtained from the lake that is accumulating in this way by draining the water through the turbine string. In contrast to run-of-river power plants, the water does not flow continuously through the hydropower plant, but only when additional electricity is required.
Pumped-storage power plant
consists of a power plant with a pumping station in the valley and a high-altitude storage lake. If there is an oversupply of electricity from wind or solar energy, this is used to pump the water from the valley into the reservoir. If the demand for electricity increases, the water is drained from the reservoir and thus drives the turbines of the power plant unit.