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Bathtub Hydroelectric Generator

bringing the power of water to the masses
(+5, -5)
  [vote for,

Imagine little Jimmy's resparator backup battery dies. He'll be OK as long as the power stays on. Just as you leave the apartment, a blackout hits. The solution: the bathtub hydroelectric generator; the only reliable emergency power solution for apartments, and a pretty good one for homes. It's instant on useable power 24/7 unlike solar & wind.
prometheus, Oct 04 2001

guerrilla power gallery http://www.homepower.com/rogues.htm
The meter can run backwards [prometheus, Oct 04 2001, last modified Oct 21 2004]

personal he sytems http://www.sierraso...design/hy_hydro.htm
15gpm@43psi can power an entire house [prometheus, Oct 04 2001, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Hydroelectric Sewer Power Generation http://www.halfbake...0Power_20Generation
UnaBubba's related idea. [jutta, Oct 04 2001]

Power from the Tap: Water Motors http://www.lowtechm...p-water-motors.html
[xaviergisz, Mar 30 2015]


       UB: not redundant. Your sewer hydro system runs off of grey/black water already consumed. My idea is a smaller breadbox-sized system meant to run when I don't need water, just water pressure. Benefits include not having to clean feces out of the turbines.
prometheus, Oct 04 2001

       OK - you want to have your bathroom tub faucet run continuously and use the flow to run a small turbine? Many problems:
1. It won't "generate electricity to feed back into the grid" - for that to happen, it would have to generate more electricity than you use, and maybe more than the entire apartment building/complex. At best, it would generate enough to keep a 20 watt bulb going.
2. Incredibly wasteful of fresh water.
3. Free for you isn't the same as free.

This reminds me of some tricks a tightwad friend of mine did. Instead of running his air conditioning, he put a fan in his apartment doorway and used the hallway's air conditioned air. In the winter, he ran hot water from the bathtub through a radiator/fan assembly for heat (wasting the water, as you describe). Not only was he evicted, but he was assessed a large fine.

quarterbaker, Oct 04 2001

       Even as an emergency power source, there are some problems:   

       1. When everyone in your area hooks up their faucet generator, water pressure drops and the fire department can no longer put out the fires caused by the earthquake that caused your power to go out.   

       2. Why assume that water pressure will be there when electricity goes out?   

       3. Emergency power by definition should not rely on infrastructure of any kind - if you're worried about Jimmy's respirator, make sure the battery backup is working rather than waiting until a blackout to think to yourself, "Gee, I should have checked the batteries."   

       4. Use redundant, self-contained backups: in addition to the maintained and checked batteries, have a gasoline, diesel or even bicycle-powered generator on hand.
cljudge, Jan 13 2004

       100 watts to comfortably power an energy efficient home?
BruceRH90, Apr 08 2006

       Bun. Admittedly, we're not talking about a lot of power, and if there's a woman (or a hippy like me) in the house, hairs may clog the turbine a lot more effectively than feces.   

       I'm assuming this is mostly for areas where the power company is crap, to back up small energy consumption items in the case of an emergency.   

       Of course, that's a lot of water going down the drain, and I'd be happy to see it put to some use... except that it too energy to get the water there, so you're sort of trying the perpetual motion thing on a small scale if you use it for generation.
ye_river_xiv, Jul 07 2006

       Again, if you're without power for long enough for the battery backups to fail, most likely so has your city's water pumps. The water only stays on during power outages because of water towers, and this will drain those very quickly.   

       (If you or your town are an an artesian aquifer, then this might make sense, but you'll drain that surprisingly quickly as well).   

       In summary, nope.
MechE, Mar 30 2015

       [-] Where do you think the water pressure comes from?
notexactly, Mar 30 2015

       //Where do you think the water pressure comes from?//   

       From the water tower, which may stay filled for days into an outage and pumps that may run on other systems. I know I've seen week-long power outages where the water pressure was fine in more than one place.   

       Obviously this won't help in case of an Apocalypse but little Timmy is dead anyway in that case.
Voice, Apr 01 2015

       [-] Even if near 100% efficient, unless it's very high above its generator, the potential energy in a bathtub full of water just isn't enough for a useful power supply. For example, 500 kg of water 4 m above a generator would have about 500*10*4 = 20000 J, which would give you 100 W for 200 seconds.
CraigD, Apr 16 2015


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