Micro Hydroelectricity

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Phayar Taung Monastry

In Phayar Taung (Myanmar) there is a boarding school for 1,200 children between 4 and 20 years old. The school is part of the Phayar Taung Buddhist monastery where 140 monks and volunteers are responsible for the care and training. This is made possible through donations from the local community. At the request of EarthWise, Gratia Hydro has investigated the generation of electricity from hydropower and has proposed improvements.

The monastery is not connected to the public electricity grid and is self-sufficient in island operation. In 2013 a hydropower installation was built with a simple Francis turbine. This generates electricity that comes to the monastery via its own high-voltage line. A diesel generator had to be switched on in the evening hours to meet the needs. The question was how it came about that the power supplied was insufficient while 30 kVA was installed. Where are the possibilities for improving hydropower?

The situation was a classic example of misinterpretations of hydropower; a chain of small errors that always caused a loss of efficiency, leaving too little left at the end. With hydropower, more electricity can never be generated than the source can deliver. It is important that all components function optimally. Over-dimensioning results in large losses that are easy to eliminate. In addition, the turbine or water wheel must run at its optimum speed. Crucial if you are self-sufficient, but also with mains-connected hydropower.

"At the Phayar Taung monastery the advice was given to implement the following improvements:

  • replacing the generators (now 30 kVA) with smaller models (7.5 kVA) that are of better quality;
  • adjust the transmission between turbine and generator so that the turbine runs optimally;
  • install a battery pack that can bridge the night hours;
  • install a controller / charger that manages the island company.
For example, the local grid would be stable and the use of the diesel generator should be kept to a minimum. Benefit for cloning and the environment. It is also indicated to place a minimum earth leakage circuit breaker in all buildings."

Funding is still being sought for the implementation of this project by a local contractor. For the details, www.earth-wise.org.