Water Power – Central American Countries Go Hydro

GristmillWhile many nations look at the best way to harness the sun and wind, Central American countries may be in a far better position to use water and gravity to generate their electricity.  Rainforest regions  with elevation very often have dramatic waterfalls.  Most of them have water flowing through them constantly, allowing the forces of nature to be harnessed to generate electricity.  Even the simplest of systems can produce vast amounts of power, as water’s weight allows higher gear ratios than wind. North Vietnam hydro generator harness

This is not a new concept.  Water has been used to push a paddle wheel for thousands of years.  Often this force would propel large geared wheels that could grind grain, for example, or even haul water back up to higher elevations.  But a generator would need none of the size, expense or maintenance.  Moreover, it can be used to provide ample and reliable off-grid power, enabling people to live well within forest canopies and in other desirable remote locations.

The technology does not need to be complex or elaborate.  In the extreme example found in the second picture, a stream’s energy is harnessed to a motorcycle’s alternator, providing a North Vietnamese village with power.  Below, we see a modern, compact hydro generator that would be used in such environments.

DoradoVista Micro Hydropower Generator

Of course, every piece of property will not have a fast stream or waterfall on it, but those which do could be made to generate electricity for others within the area.  Each little community could be entirely energy independent, and non-polluting.

Combined with Green building methods, the footprint would be nearly non-existent, and the costs negligible.  What a great way to get your creature comforts while living in paradise!