Published on May 20th, 2020 | by Johnna Crider0
Charging Your Phone With Hydroelectricity From A Rain Gutter
May 20th, 2020 by Johnna Crider
Did you know that you could charge your phone with rainwater? YouTuber Quint BUILDs discovered that he could harvest free energy from his roof with a hydroelectric generator. He lives in Oregon, where it rains quite a lot, so he got a bit creative with the opportunity. In a four-part video series, he documented how he attempted to harvest the natural resource to power some of household gadgets.
He started by climbing onto his roof to determine the flow rate of his gutter. To make the calculations, he needed to see how large his roof is. This required calculating the horizontal distance and the width and multiplying this by how much rain he was getting per hour. After doing a bit of math, Quint discovered that he was getting over 100 gallons an hour of rain on his roof — almost 2 gallons of rainwater per minute. He points out that’s not really a lot for electricity generation, so he uses a Pelton wheel to maximize the energy from the water.
A Pelton wheel is a type of water turbine that extracts energy from the impulse of moving water, unlike what the traditional overshot water wheel does. That one uses the dead weight of the water instead. The Pelton wheel is designed with spoon-shaped buckets or blades that, in essence, force the water to make a U-turn when it hits the blades.
Awesome mad scientist YouTube series on using a rain gutter as a hydroelectric generator for charging a cellphone 😂👌https://t.co/BBVpArha54
— Andrej Karpathy (@karpathy) May 17, 2020
Quint spends hours trying to adjust the components in a good enough way to get the generator producing enough electricity to charge a phone, but that’s not happening in the first video.
Quint notes that Pelton wheels are hard to produce. He was able to print one on his 3D printer, but some parts didn’t come out perfect. The next challenge was to make rainwater squirt like a jet, but the first attempt (a hole in the plastic tube) wasn’t strong enough or close enough to get the necessary power, so modifications were needed.
In each video, Quint addresses challenges, makes adjustments using his 3D printer, by welding, and by building something. Have a look at all the videos to see how he works through his challenges.