What exactly is a hydroelectric generator?
A hydroelectric generator is absolutely nothing but a machine that rotates electrically and is utilized to transform mechanical power from a water wheel or hydraulic turbine into electric power.
Hydroelectric generator – History
Since the ancient time, moving water has been used to generate energy. The energy produced by using the water wheels was used for grinding grains and other agricultural purposes. Nowadays, the energy from the falling water is mainly used for driving electrical generators. Water can be a reliable energy source, as long as there is sufficient water in the rivers and streams due to rainfall and snow.
Hydroelectric generator – Types
Based on the capacity, the hydroelectric generators are subdivided into several types.
Low capacity generators – This has capacity upto 50 MW (megawatts)
Medium capacity generators – The capacity of this generators range amongst 50 and 150 MW
High capacity generators – This type of generator have capacity above 150 MW
The hydroelectric generators are also classified into different types based on the speed of rotation.
Low speed generators – The generators having the rotation upto 100 rpm (Revolutions Per Minute)
High speed generators – This kind of generators typically possess a speed that exceeds 100 rpm
Hydroelectric generator – Operating and Parts
Hydroelectric generators work only if there is a drop in water. Either they use the natural drops like waterfall or the drop is created artificially by building dams across the rivers in order to increase the level of water. The driving force will be generated only when there is a drop. The forebay is where the water present at the higher level will be collected and then goes into a penstock (pipe) through the intake of the station. One of the type of water wheel known as the turbine will be connected to a generator. There will be an increase in the pressure of water as it flows down the penstock. The turbine revolves due to this flow and pressure in water that in turn spins the generator.
Large electromagnets are attached towards the rotor present inside the generator. The rotor is located within the stator (copper wire coil). When the rotor present inside the generator spins the magnets, it’ll create a flow of electrons in the stator generating electricity. This electrical power could be converted to voltage by passing it via the transformers and are then sent across the transmission lines. Tailrace is exactly where the falling water comes out on the creating station and rejoins the river’s most important stream.
Hydroelectric generator – Critical notice
Even though designing and putting in a hydroelectric generator, particular interest have to be offered to strengthen the rotating parts. It is also important to cool the rotor and stator’s windings.
Hydroelectric generator – Build at home (small-scale)
People living close to a river can take advantage from the natural flow of water to build a small-scale hydroelectric generator at home in order to reduce the consumption of electricity. This small-scale generator is also known as run-of-stream hydro, low-impact hydro or micro hydro generator and can be easily built just by using the basic materials readily available at home.