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Published on October 15th, 2010 | by Zachary Shahan


New Microhydro Book is THE Microhydro Book

October 15th, 2010 by  

This post is part of our participation in Blog Action Day 2010, which is on the topic of Water.

Microhydro is not the first thing you think of when you think about renewable energy. I am sure I can count on one hand the number of people who have used this word in communication with me. But microhydro could be a good energy option for many people and could even be “the most cost-effective renewable energy option” for some people.

A new book out, Serious Microhydro: Water Power Solutions from the Experts, is basically THE book to read if you want to know anything or everything about microhydro today.

Everything from how water flow is estimated to the costs of a microhydro project to renewable energy incentives to the best way to share power between houses to how an airlock can be cleared from a pipe to how you can use occasional surpluses of power to how to have a high standard of living using much less energy than the average American (not that that would be needed in all cases), this book covers all the bases.

No, I am not getting anything for speaking so highly of this book. But I think this is a cool renewable energy option and this is an amazing book for anyone who wants to learn more about microhydro.

The book in not just a source of general information on microhydro either. It is filled with case studies from a variety of different settings, and they are well-organized so you can easily find the ones that match up with the resources you have or are thinking about.

In fact, this is one thing I especially like about this book — its focus on real-world systems and experiences. I think this is especially important for this topic because there is such a broad range of microhydro options and applications, and it is better to see real-world examples and experiences than to try to generalize.

However, the book does also get into the history of microhydro and critical design elements. And it gets into future possibilities based on economic, political, and environmental changes. Interesting stuff.

The author, Scott Davis, is “an award-winning renewable energy project developer with decades of experience operating, installing, designing, selling and teaching about microhydro technology” and wrote two books on microhydro before this one. It shows in this book.

I haven’t completely finished reading the book yet, but since today is international Blog Action Day and it is on the topic of water, I thought this would be a good time to share my perspective on this new book with you Cleantechnica readers.

Again, the book, from the great publishing company New Society Publishers (probably my favorite), is available here: Serious Microhydro: Water Power Solutions from the Experts.

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About the Author

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession and Solar Love. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, and Canada. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in. But he offers no professional investment advice and would rather not be responsible for you losing money, so don't jump to conclusions.

  • Although a bit dated, this is still a pretty solid book on micro hydro.

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  • James Garden, Jr.

    Although I thoroughly agree with promoting microhydro technology wherever possible to generate electricity, microhydro is a stationary source of power.
    We also need to view water as a fuel–a portable source of power. We need to develop water dissociation [water splitting] units to be carried aboard motor vehicles. Photocatalyts in contact with water can use sunlight to take the place of the electricity that is used in the electrolysis method of splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen.
    Internal combustion engines can be modified to run on hydrogen fuel. Hydrogen and oxygen fed through fuel cells on board motor vehicles generates electricity for the vehicles’ electric motors–no need to build a nationwide infrastructure of hydrogen re-fueling stations.
    By producing more hydrogen than is needed during sunlight hours, that hydrogen can be stored on board and used at night. Alternatively, electric LED lighting can be used also to act on the photocatalysts to augment the stored hydrogen.
    Non-soluble photocatalysts such as titanium dioxide can be deposited on a rigid foam, with light-carrying fibers interspersed within the foam, and with water running through the foam. A cubic foot of charcoal, for example, has a surface area of 12 square miles!
    Water is our only source of portable fuel available in the quantities required to supplant gasoline.
    Economically, water is practically free, and since it is recyclable, you pay for it only once!
    Water requires no investment in exploration, drilling, refining, transportation, service stations, mining, farming, cooling towers, or disposal of coal fly ash and radioactive nuclear waste.
    As a fuel, water would neither consume atmospheric oxygen, nor pollute the air and water environment with toxic byproducts.
    comment by Origo

    • @James Gerden, Jr.: wow, a lot of great extra comments. thank you

  • Lee Watson

    I’m trying to find a blog on microhydro to learn and share as I run two systems here on our ranch

    • @Lee Watson: I don’t know of any blogs on microhydro… haven’t searched for them, though… i’ll see if i can dig something up for you

      • Leewatson007

        I’m beginning to understand the term “Hobby Hydro”. It seems to mean that if you have a micro hydro that makes less than it costs to run, it’s a hobby.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Are you familiar with Home Power Magazine?


      Not the forum you’re seeking, but a great information source.

    • satya

      TRY microhydropower.net

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