Micro Hydro Power

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The content here has been derived from research conducted by Virginia Tech students in conjunction with their capstone engineering project. While exploring the site you will find documentation of the team’s work in addition to educational tools which are actively used by field trip coordinators at Glen Alton.

Summary of Work

Objectives for this project were divided between two semesters of work. The first semester was focused on the reconstruction of the old micro hydro power system through research and design. Once the system was fully completed the team recognized their opportunity to inform visitors of Glen Alton through specific educational activities. While hydro power had been their main focus it was clear that all types of renewable energy should be included so that visitors understand the importance of having a variety of power sources.

Design and Installation of a Micro-Hydro Power Generation Plant for Community Education

By - Tamim Younos, The Cabell Brand Center for Global Poverty and Resource Sustainability Studies, Salem, VA (co- authors: J. Garrette, E. F. Brown, S. Lyles)

Micro-hydro power technology is a renewable energy technology that generates electricity using small stream or pipe flows under appropriate topographic conditions. This technology is particularly applicable to small farms and rural communities but can also find applications in certain urban settings such as harnessing energy from sewer pipelines for powering street lights or operating fountains.

The goal of this presentation is to discuss the micro- hydro power generation concept, system design, site constraints, and regulatory requirements based on experience gained from a case study by the authors. The project site is located in the U.S. Forest Service Glen Alton Educational Facility, Giles County, Virginia. The Glen Alton micro-hydro power generation system is designed as both grid-tied and battery based system.

Virginia's net metering program allows excess generated power to be sold to Appalachian Power's regional grid. The electricity stored in batteries can be used when the onsite electricity demand increases beyond the generator's power output. Technology demonstration for citizen education including K-12 is a major objective of the project. The project facilitates an excellent opportunity for visitors to learn about system components of a micro-hydro power generation plant and renewable energy in general.
The project is supported by a grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission and in-kind support from the U.S. Forest Service.

Introduction to Energy Concepts

This video was created to give students an overview of energy sources. After viewing they will be well prepared to attend Glen Alton and participate in the energy field trip.


Micro-Hydropower Generation Demonstration Project for Community Education

Justin Garrette
Dr. Tamim Younos
Dr. Eugene Brown

Environment Virginia

April 12, 2012

The Glen Alton hydropower system is capable of generating 500 Watts (0.67 HP) continuously

Turbine Generator- Energy Systems and Design 4 Nozzle “Stream Engine”
• Capable of power outputs up to 2kW
• High efficiency
• Rugged bronze turgo wheel
• Non-corrosive alloy parts
• Adaptable universal nozzles for wide operating range

To read the entire report please download the PDF below