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Energy harvesting from hydroelectric systems for remote sensors

Faculty of Exact Science and Engineering, University of Madeira, Funchal, Portugal

Topical Section: Energy Harvest and Storage

Hydroelectric systems are well-known for large scale power generation. However, there are virtually no studies on energy harvesting with these systems to produce tens or hundreds of milliwatts. The goal of this work was to study which design parameters from large-scale systems can be applied to small-scale systems. Two types of hydro turbines were evaluated. The first one was a Pelton turbine which is suitable for high heads and low flow rates. The second one was a propeller turbine used for low heads and high flow rates. Several turbine geometries and nozzle diameters were tested for the Pelton system. For the propeller, a three-bladed turbine was tested for different heads and draft tubes. The mechanical power provided by these turbines was measured to evaluate the range of efficiencies of these systems. A small three-phase generator was developed for coupling with the turbines in order to evaluate the generated electric power. Selected turbines were used to test battery charging with hydroelectric systems and a comparison between several efficiencies of the systems was made.
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