Tidal turbine: Ricoh unveils a mini hydroelectric power plant for small streams


Does the idea of ​​generating electricity from the drainage system of a factory or an irrigation canal interest you? Note that the Japanese company Ricoh has developed a system to make this possible. Called 3D-Pico Hydro Generator System, the solution proposed by the company consists of a mini hydroelectric power plant capable of generating electrical energy even with a small jet of water. Admittedly, the most efficient version of the system develops a power of less than 5 kW, but it remains interesting insofar as it was designed to be able to operate with solar panels. By doing this, Ricoh wants to allow us to have a more stable power supply.

Made with 3D printed materials

One of the special features of the 3D-Pico Hydro Generator System is that it has been made with durable materials, including recycled plastics. What’s more, its structure is the result of three-dimensional printing. According to the company’s explanations, 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 version of the machine with a power of 1 kW. And as if that weren’t enough, much less powerful models – around ten watts – to run IoT devices, in order to prevent certain disasters, are under study.

Pico hydroelectric power generation equipment installed at the 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, devices lighting and charging systems. A 1kW hydroelectric generator is under development and this is the production we are aiming for in the future, currently it is a few watts or a few tens of watts.” Comment from a company spokesperson to pv magazine

Mainly for remote places

The Pico Hydro system was tested at the firm’s Numazu factory, with Ricoh aiming to deploy in the most remote places on the planet. “In our demonstration experiment using wastewater from the Ricoh factory in Numazu, we were able to confirm the possibility of lighting a lamp and using it as a power source for a security camera for nine months”, the company said. To achieve such a feat, the company claims to have also used battery storage.

on sale soon

You should know that the power developed by a hydroelectric generator is based on various elements. The characteristics of the alternator are a determining factor. However, it also depends the water flow and the nature of the turbine, to name but a few examples. The 3D-Pico Hydro Generator System obviously takes these parameters into account. It remains to be seen when the product will be available on a global scale, Ricoh wishing to market it in Japan first. More info: accelerator.ricoh / jp.ricoh.com

Educational pico hydroelectric equipment made from 3D printing materials
Educational pico hydroelectric equipment made from 3D printing materials. Photo credit: RICOH


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