Pico Hydro-Power System boosts rural electricity

Chima Ugwuanyi

09 November 2012, Sweetcrude, Enugu – A group of engineers, namely: M.A Akintunde, O.F Fabetu and A.O Oladeju of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria, have developed a Pico (small) hydro Power system, for the generation of rural electricity.

Disclosing this at a recent seminar in Enugu, Nigeria, the group said the system, which works with the aid of a turbine, “can be constructed on dams, carnal drops and return carnal of thermal power stations, also in the flowing small rivers, as well as flowing small rivers in nearby villages”.

They explained that the small hydro Power plants are usually up to 15MW capacity whereas the mini hydro schemes are above 100KW, but those below 1MW-these mini are meant for battery charging, food processing, etc, while the plants with 15MW capacity could provide Power for small communities or industries in remote areas, far from the national grid.

Describing the process of the recent test which marked the final stage of their research, Akintunde and co, said “the implementation was done on a run-off river, near a community which provided a constant head of 7.2M. The run-off river was piped into the wheel of the turbine and a small blockade was built to divert part of the water and from the surge that starts the penstock which delivers the waters to the Power house, where the water impacts on the turbine wheel, making it roll the electric generator coupled to it.”

According to them, the Pico hydro-power system was developed in order to ammeliorate the inadequate power generation and supply in the country, despite all efforts put in place by government, which had made the dreams of self-sufficiency of the citizens remain unrealized.

The engineers further claimed that the Pico hydro-electric power system is a source of renewable energy, pollution-free and eco-friendly, adding that this achievement “will lead to reduction in the constant dependency of the world on fossil energy sources today and in the near future.

They said the energy needs of the rural communities would be met as much as possible, as the micro hydro power plants are particularly suitable for villages that are more than one kilometer away from the national grid, maintaining that hydro power plants are increrasingly gaining interests in industrialized countries, “mainly due to their lower negative enviromental impacts.”

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