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Home Forums General Discussion Best uses of DIRECT hydro power

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    When thinking about the days of old, prior to the era of electricity, when water was the most common source of power, most of us would think of saw mills or grain milling.

    The arrival of electric power brought about a drastic change in our society, because electricity provided a far more consistent source of power that did not tie the user directly to the power source. There was however, one big advantage to using direct hydro power that was not appreciated much until more recent times. Water provides a free, clean, zero emissions source of totally renewable power.

    The time has now come for us to take a second look at utilizing this abundant resource in a practical and responsible way. In order to do that, we need to determine what processes would be least influenced by the two limiting aspects of water power: inconsistent available power and location at source.

    I have come up with three examples that I would like to share with you.

    1. Using water power to pulverize glass: There is no reason that we are sending glass to our landfills. In the first place, glass is totally harmless to the environment. When crushed, it becomes nothing more than common sand. Second, sand still has to be mined, while glass is being sent to our landfills. Finally, glass is very heavy and since most tipping fees are based on weight, glass can be very expensive to transport and dump. Water could be easily used to turn relatively slow moving pulverizers . . . and changes in flow would have little effect on the system.

    2. Using water power to chip brush and wood: A large tub grinder could be powered from a slow moving river with low head, provided the flow was great enough. Piles of brush and debris could be allowed to accumulate (beyond the reach of flood levels) during times when power was low and then processed when power was adequate. Even river debris could be collected and processed utilizing available river power (see “ideas” at

    3. Using water to pump water: typically moving water will pump a minimum of about ten percent of its source to a higher location. There are numerous potential applications here ranging from crop irrigation to water filtration and purification. Furthermore, excess water during times of heavy rain could be pumped to higher elevations and then stored, especially since the available power would be greatest during the times of excess water.

    I would like to hear what other practical applications that you can think of for utilizing direct hydro power, even where electricity is readily available . . . like de-husking walnuts.

    Send in your ideas.

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