Environment

Ibasei's Cappa provides hydroelectricity on a small scale

Ibasei's Cappa provides hydroe...
The Cappa compact hydropower generator can deliver 250 W of electricity
The Cappa compact hydropower generator can deliver 250 W of electricity
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The Cappa compact hydropower generator can deliver 250 W of electricity
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The Cappa compact hydropower generator can deliver 250 W of electricity
The Cappa compact hydropower generator is designed to by easily installed in a river or waterway
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The Cappa compact hydropower generator is designed to by easily installed in a river or waterway
The Cappa compact hydropower generator being tested
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The Cappa compact hydropower generator being tested
The Cappa compact hydropower generator features a diffuser housing that increases the velocity of the water passing over the blades
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The Cappa compact hydropower generator features a diffuser housing that increases the velocity of the water passing over the blades
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Despite being the most widely used form of renewable energy worldwide, hydroelectricity is generally reserved for large-scale commercial installations built around massive dams. Japanese company Ibasei has shrunk things down and removed the need to build a dam with its Cappa compact hydropower generator – a system that's designed to be installed along a river or waterway.

The basic design of the Cappa is nothing new – blades rotate as the water flows through the unit, which drives a turbine to generate electricity. However, the unit is encased in a special diffuser that is designed to increase the velocity of the water at the point where it passes over the blades, thereby increasing the unit’s electrical output.

A company spokesman tells DigInfo that a water flow of 2 m/s (6.5 ft/s) will see one unit produce 250 W of electricity, while five units together will generate about 1 kW, taking control losses into account. The unit produces 100 V AC electricity at 50/60 Hz, so it can be used to power appliances around the (Japanese) home. The unit itself is also 100 percent recyclable and has an uptime of virtually 100 percent.

The Cappa compact hydropower generator features a diffuser housing that increases the velocity of the water passing over the blades
The Cappa compact hydropower generator features a diffuser housing that increases the velocity of the water passing over the blades

While you’d need quite a few of these things to completely power the average household – and I don’t know a lot of people with steadily flowing rivers running through their backyards, Ibasei anticipates the device could come in handy for providing power to remote communities and tourist attractions and in the event of natural disasters – floods in particular seem like a good fit for the technology.

While larger blades have the potential to deliver more power, their optimum size is determined by the size, width and speed of the river in which they are placed. For this reason, Ibasei would like to survey each river in which a unit is to be placed to customize a system for each customer.

The company is currently in the final development and testing stage and hopes to have the Cappa available for purchase in 2013. The 250 W model is expected to be priced at around the cost of a compact car.

The Cappa is explained in the video below.

Source: DigInfo TV

Compact ROR hydropower generator for use in rivers and streams #DigInfo

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19 comments
Snake Oil Baron
Most likely uses would be remote installations for sensor platforms and such. It's not a huge amount of power for human usage but you could run low power electronics for all sorts of things. Or it could slowly and constantly charge more power hungry equipment if it didn't need to be used constantly. Aerial drones that could remain charging most of the time and had multiple copies with similar power stations across a wide area could cover remote territory, performing tasks like search and rescue and even relaying small payloads like emergency provisions to people in the wilderness until rescuers can get there.
It is important to remember that a "useful" amount of power can be different depending on who or what is using it and how practical other forms of power are in the context.
drsuperduper
250 watts for the price of a compact car sounds like a rip off to me.
Tommo
The price of a compact car yet will be completely taken out by the first tree branch that is on that river...That's an expensive risk.
Primecordial
Most rivers/streams around here are not pristine but loaded with twigs, and other floating and suspended debris. These would easily jam the impeller. Even an upstream screen would clog pretty quickly. What about feasibility in colder climates, where icing would be an issue?
ZekeG
No worries about fish? No screen-how will it stop debris from clogging it? Way too expensive right now. Good idea though-work out the kinks. Adding a jacuzzi type shell might propel the water even faster for more power. Maybe horizontal blades that flip would hurt fish less.
Dirk Scott
Talk about reinventing the wheel! Water power was optimised in the 19th century with overshot water wheels reaching >90% efficiency. They dont clog, are almost fit&forget reliability and are simple and cheap to make. Hi-power fixed magnet generators which operate at low RPM that can turn this motive power into electricity.
This little thing is way too expensive, will clog easily and because it has gears turning 90 degrees in it will wear out.
Another solution to a problem which does not exist.
PrometheusGoneWild.com
I like the design and could see these powering a house. Unlike a high pressure design, it could be used on a property in series. In other words you could put a bunch of them on the same property. You would just have to put enough space between them to allow the water to gain speed again. Pricing seems to be a problem in this article. They should have put out a number, the whole "compact car" thing lets a very large number appear in my head..... The assembly holding the turbine in the video is a bad design. They should have dock floats attached so the turbine will stay at the same height as the river as it rides and falls. With feet so it cannot bottom out. The whole thing tied off to post besides the river with cable.
Jeff J Carlson
overengineered and overpriced is no way to advance remote energy generation ...
if this is the best the green energy movement can come up with then we need a new green energy movement ...
these folks offer a 1300 watt unit for $1475 ...
http://www.aurorapower.net/products/categoryid/4/list/1/level/a/productid/209.aspx?gclid=CNnawqjWl7QCFe1xOgodzBIATA
and "speeding" up the water flow doesn't "add" power ... the energy contained in flowing water can't be "increased" it can only be extracted ...
bergamot69
Agree with above comments re debris and price- a 'small car' price is vastly excessive for something that is technologically simpler than the average modern turbocharger.
In the UK the best small hydro plants seem to be the ones that use weirs, with fish bypass, and which take the form of a worm drive. As the water isn't guided into a casing there is far less potential for debris to get stuck in it.
Slowburn
It would not be too difficult to keep debris out by building a screen several meters upstream but the only advantage it provides over a undershot waterwheel is that it is easier to conceal.