University of Twente Student Theses


Let the water run : design and implementation of a micro hydropower project in Tumianuma, Chirusco valley, Ecuador.

Boekeloo, A. (2013) Let the water run : design and implementation of a micro hydropower project in Tumianuma, Chirusco valley, Ecuador.

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Abstract:Neverland is an organic farm located in Tumianuma, in a small valley in the parish of the province Loja in the Andes region. In the remote area of this valley is a lack of electricity and people are moving from their traditional farmer places to the village. Neverland wants to provide a micro-hydropower installation for the nearby rural households. In 2008 they started building a micro-hydropower system of 4 kW, for the farm itself and for the households around the farm. Due to financial allocation problems the system is still not working. This year they got some new funding, so the project could be resumed. My tasks were to continue with this project and help with the design and practical realisation of the plant, which is the technical part. Besides this I did a social part and conducted a survey among the people in the valley. Environmental setbacks lead to a lot of extra work and resulted in a still not finished power plant. But due to this extremely weather, some weak places in the canal could be found and reconstructed. However, there are some parameters that could be designed and constructed. This includes the penstock, which is installed and supported by 8 pillars, which are made of concrete and strengthened with rebar. The construction is calculated to both withstand forces when the pipe expands as well as contracts. The foundation of the powerhouse is constructed and protected for the nearby river. The expected total peak power is calculated to be 2.7 kW, which is below the expected generated power of 4 kW. Three different groups of houses are made which will be connected to the three different phases. With the most optimized design in both balance of energy-use and financial costs, the total wire length that is needed is 6.3 km. The maximum voltage drop, with an aluminium wire of 7mm in diameter, will be 17 V. Most of the people are really enthusiastic to receive electricity in the valley. If there is electricity they say they will come back to the valley and have a farmers living again. Besides having electricity, another important necessity that turned out is potable water. Some people are not really interested in having electricity from the hydro plant, because they already use solar power. The general perception is that the positive effects of this project is that the families will come back in the valley and have a traditional farmers life. No real negative effects are expected, if it is properly organised regarding agreements and maintenance. For a good continuation of this project I suggest that a good system is found to do the maintenance. Someone should be in charge to be responsible for the basic maintenance of the system, like cleaning the filters. Furthermore the local people need to be educated in how to handle this system. I think it is also important to organise meetings among the local people that will be connected to the system, to keep them informed and hear their ideas. In this way they are more part of the system which will result in a more sustainable whole in both using and maintaining the system.
Item Type:Internship Report (Master)
Neverland Organic Farm, Ecuador
Faculty:ET: Engineering Technology
Subject:52 mechanical engineering
Programme:Sustainable Energy Technology MSc (60443)
Keywords:Micro hydropower, rural areas, energy, households, Ecuador
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