Low Head Pico-Hydro Promotion Project
‘Pico-hydro’ is a term for very small hydropower units, smaller than ‘micro-hydro’ in the 100W to 5kW range. In Nepal, the most common form of pico-hydro is the ‘peltric’ set, which uses high heads and very small discharges to generate 3 to 5kW. A technology yet to be exploited in Nepal is the low-head pico-hydro range based on either propeller turbines or crossflow turbines. An example of this would be the PT1 turbine and generator set developed by Nepal Hydro Electric which uses 85 l/s falling through a gross head of 3.4m to generate 1.2kW of power. Trial sites have shown that this technology can provide lighting (using efficient CFL bulbs) for up to 50 households at an affordable price.
This project from PEEDA will promote the use of low head propeller or crossflow type pico-hydropower technology in rural Nepal. Generally, this type of low-head pico-hydro technology is most suited for siting on existing irrigation channels or water mill sites (known as Ghatta). This project will not only benefit the rural households by providing electricity, but will also promote small scale income generating activities among the rural people. The project is planned to be completed in three phases. At the moment the project is in its design phase (phase 2) and is looking for funding to progress to implementation in the third phase.