Date of Award

Spring 5-12-2018

Degree Type

Honors Thesis

Department

Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Rob Erikson

Second Advisor

Dr. Kevin Kilty

Abstract

As the demand for electricity continues to grow around the world, so does the ability to provide electricity. However, a significant portion of the global population is still without reliable electricity or any electricity at all. Inconsistent grid power caused by natural disaster, prohibitively expensive utility costs and isolation from grid access are a few factors preventing many people around the world from having access to reliable electricity. These issues can often be addressed through simple solutions such as the implementation of generators and solar panels. But, these solutions can be expensive and present several hurdles such as fuel transportation and extensive battery storage.

The purpose of this design project was to create an affordable micro-hydroelectric generator made of universal components. By utilizing recycled car parts, metal scraps and other various materials, an affordable micro-hydroelectric generator has been built. A Toyota Denso 22RE alternator, converted to a permanent magnet alternator, produces electricity at low turbine speeds. The converted alternator was tested for power output and core temperature as a function of rotational speed. Remaining system components were designed while considering the converted core test results. A build manual for the system has been developed which prescribes materials and methods necessary to build the system. Affordability and availability were key points of focus throughout the project design and building phases. The developed system’s intended use is to provide electricity to communities and individuals all around the world.

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