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Hydro Electric Power



High Head Turbines
The Turgo and Pelton Wheel are impulse turbines which use a high head to extract a greater potential energy from the same amount of water. Dependent on a fall of more than 20 meters, they need a relatively small flow rate, the water being piped down to the turbine to create the required head (pressure).
Medium Head Reaction Turbines
With a lower head, greater volume is required to produce the same amount of power. The Francis turbine is a medium head turbine ideal for small scale applications.
Low Head Turbines
These systems require a much larger volume of water to generate a useful amount of power. They are therefore more limited to locations in or on the edge of a stream or creek. A Kaplan propeller is an example of a low head turbine.
Flow of Stream Turbines
Gear pumps can be used as turbines. Although they have high frictional and leakage losses, they are otherwise suitable for small scale hydro power applications. Gear pumps used as turbines need a medium to high head.

Banki (cross flow) turbines can be used for heads as low as 1 metre, up to heads as high as 200 metres. They can be manufactured in the back yard workshop and are good for small scale hydro power applications. A banki is in fact a two stage turbine. Where there is a fast flowing stream but virtually no head a floating propellor driven turbine may be used.

The Tyson Turbine is ideally suited for such situations. The Tyson is suspended in the water by two pontoons, tethered to the banks, bridge or pier by means of a steel cable. The flow of the river rotates the submerged turbine head which is attached to a right angle gear box. This transmits the power above water level to an electric generator via a pulley. This system can generate low voltage DC for charging batteries or higher voltages to transmit power up to 5 kilometres in distance. Power can be unregulated AC which is transformed and rectified to low voltage DC where required. Outputs up to 1500W can be generated depending on water flow rate. Power generation and water pumping can be performed simultaneously. Power output (depending on water flow): 130 amps at 12v or 65 amps at 24v using automotive alternator or permanent magnet DC generator.


The Rainbow Power Company of Nimbin Australia are recognised both in Australia and internationally for their expertise in renewable energy production systems and particularly for their hydro systems. The Rainbow Micro Hydro is the result of 20 years of experience in the field, incorporating state of the art design and materials. It is a low maintenance system with an exceptional service life.Installation is simple and requires no special skills. It is easily integrated into any battery centred electrical system.

Power output is exceptional for a micro hydro unit. It will produce 20 amps (12v) with a head pressure of 13 metres and 7 litres per second flow rate. With a greater head, less flow rate is required to produce the same performance. More to follow in future updates. In the meantime, contact

Rainbow Power Company
Tel: +61 66 89 1430
Fax: +61 66 89 1430

The Pelton Wheel and other earth friendly technologies are carried by:

QDC Solutions
Phone: +61 66 841100
Fax: +61 66 843600
PO Box 875
Mullumbimby NSW 2482