Tidal turbine: Ricoh introduces a mini hydroelectric power station for small streams

Are you interested in the idea of ​​generating electricity from a factory’s drainage system or an irrigation canal? Note that the Japanese company Ricoh has developed a system to make this possible. The solution proposed by the company, dubbed the 3D-Pico Hydro Generator System, consists of a mini hydroelectric power station capable of generating electrical energy even with a small jet of water. Although the most efficient version of the system develops a power of less than 5 kW, it remains interesting in that it was designed to work with solar panels. With this, Ricoh wants to give us a more stable power supply.

Made from 3D printed materials

One of the special features of the 3D Pico Hydro Generator System is that it has been constructed from durable materials including recycled plastics. In addition, its structure is the result of three-dimensional printing. According to the company, the product can be used to power various devices, from sensors connected to light bulbs to video surveillance systems. Ricoh engineers are currently developing a 1 kW version of the machine. And as if that wasn’t enough, much less powerful models – around ten watts – for powering IoT devices, to prevent certain disasters, are studying.

Pico hydroelectric power plants installed at Ricoh Numazu factory. Photo credit: RICOH

“The system can also be used in combination with photovoltaic panels and batteries to ensure a stable power supply (…) Depending on the amount of electricity produced, it can be used for IoT devices such as sensors, device lighting and charging systems. A 1kW hydroelectric generator is under development and that is the production we are targeting for the future, currently it is a few watts or a few tens of watts.” Company spokesperson commented to pv magazine

Mainly for remote places

The Pico Hydro system was tested at the company’s Numazu plant, which was Ricoh’s goal Use in the most remote places on earth. “In our demonstration experiment using wastewater from Ricoh’s Numazu factory, we were able to confirm the possibility of lighting a lamp and using it to power a surveillance camera for nine months.”, the company announced. To achieve such a feat, the company says it has also used battery storage.

soon on sale

You should know that the power developed by a hydroelectric generator is based on different elements. The properties of the alternator are a decisive factor. But it also depends the water flow and the type of turbine, to name just a few examples. Of course, the 3D Pico Hydro Generator System takes these parameters into account. It remains to be seen when the product will be available globally as Ricoh wants to market it in Japan first. More information: Accelerator.ricoh / jp.ricoh.com

Educational pico hydropower devices made from 3D printed materials
Educational pico hydropower devices made from 3D printed materials. Photo credit: RICOH

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