Bicycle Hub Hydropower

[Niklas Roy] wanted to create electricity from moving water so he came up with this hyrdopower generator. It is part of his grand scheme to rent out small personal fountains made from buckets. They need electricity to run so he hooked up the generator to the water jet of a public fountain. It should be possible to use this setup with falling water in a similar way that other generators do.

To build the device he cut fins out of PVC pipe to use as the scoops. They are attached to a Shimano hub generator, meant for producing power while you pedal. The hub is mounted in the front for from a bicycle, which can then be mounted anywhere moving water is available. The only thing that worries us about the setup is [Niklas’] comment that being showered with water didn’t destroy the hub right away.

See the hub and the smaller fountains in the clip after the break.


36 thoughts on “Bicycle Hub Hydropower

  1. Useful for stealing power from public fountains only.

    a creek or river will not power this thing as the water is moving too slowly. there are far better designs out there for getting real power instead of being a power parasite.

    I guess if you found a waterfall this would work.

  2. I have three bikes with shimano generator hubs on them (one of them has them front and rear). They produce enough power at a walking pace to light up the 2.4W headlight.

    If you wanted to use them on a waterwheel in a creek or river, you could just adjust the length of the paddles(longer or shorter as necessary) to compensate for the speed (or lack thereof) of the current.

  3. @anywho

    Couldn’t it be considered stealing since it is being powered by public funds, and he is using it for his own personal gain? Of course, other people refer to these people as “politicians”, and no one thinks twice about them.

  4. so they just walk up to people and ask if they want to rent their own little fountain

    wonder how much they charged
    they probably didn’t even make enough money to pay for what they used to build it

  5. running water is more reliable than wind. i mean, you don’t always have wind, but if you have a river or waterfall, that water is always going in the same direction, easier to harness. i think i would go with a 12-fin design though. There are shower-heads that generate electricity from the running water to light up colored LEDs. saw them somewhere like DX because they were chinee

  6. @Dave…. A continuous 2.4 watts is more than enough to light a home in a developing country. That’s 60 watt hours a day…. Coupled with the ubiquitous car battery (as is common in a place like E. Africa, parts of SE Asia and others) – you could power a 6W 12V CFL for 10 hours a night… way more than enough…

    Using LEDs (less common unlike fluorescent bulbs)… a 3W bulb (which puts out about the same amount of lumens as a 6W CFL – according my testing using a 3m integrating sphere) will go for 20 hours :p

    Extra juice could be used to power radios, charge cell phones, etc. etc. etc.

  7. You think this is inefficient?

    As a kid, I built an air-conditioner using a car radiator and a hose coupling. I put the radiator in my window, hooked the garden hose to one side and a garden hose to the sprinker on the other.

    I then wired a box fan to the outside, turned it on and let the sprinkler rip. Running back to my room, I was in heaven. Cool air! I fell asleep, and woke up to discover that someone had turned the water off and it was hot again. I discovered that it worked better with the fan on the inside of the window.

    I used it for about two weeks – putting it in the window when it got hot, then taking it out when my uncle was due home. Then the radiator started to leak because it fell out of the window one time to many – then, as now, my mechanical skills were no match for my imagination.

    So I started going to the YMCA, mostly because they had A/C. A month later, my uncle got his water bill and went ballistic. I think he managed to explain that it must have been an error, but that was the first time I ever realized that what I did could have consequences.

    Luckily, puberty didn’t hit me until the following year.

  8. Umm so it works like this?

    1. go to a big public fountain.
    2. cripple big public fountain with hub generator.
    3. use power from generator to power pissy little fountains.
    4. profit

    I must be missing something? Why would I pay for a pissy fountain, when I’ve come to the park to cool down and sit near a MASSIVE fountain?

  9. when i saw the video it seemed like they were joking about charging for the little fountains,but now reading the comments i realize they were serious. People need to think of ways to make money but this is not a good idea.

  10. Wow, that was stupid.
    The little fountain was barely doing anything.
    I doubt this is legal anyways…I don’t see how it’s different than tapping into an AC line. It’s stealing. Not to mention it makes the actual fountain ugly.

  11. So… if you’re going to use the public fountain as a power source, why not just run a hose from one of the big jets right into the bucket jets? You could run at least a dozen of those ‘pissy little fountains’ (thx demod) from just one of the big ones. And they’d be less pissy. And less complicated.

  12. I must be missing something? Why would I pay for a pissy fountain, when I’ve come to the park to cool down and sit near a MASSIVE fountain?

    I believe the part that is missing is the social commentary. As you’ve noted, they would potentially make money by providing a private service at a cost that is not as good as (and detriments) the public service available in the same place for free. It doesn’t make any sense, and yet in this country, it is held as an ideal almost irregardless of the implementation (even if it’s silly). I take this as a commentary on the societal differences between America and Europe.

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