Micro Hydro Energy

My current project is bit interesting. Its about Identification Micro hydro Energy Sources using Remote Sensing Tech. The sources could be an area or a point that represent physical nature phenomenon, usually a river. Micro hydro is a renewable energy, it can be use more than once, it continues give us energy. It called micro because usually it comes from the small rivers. On the river, we install a turbine which will moved by water motion. Micro hydro concept is simple as hydropower, it just like we learned from high school. The most important point is Height. Higher height may results greater power. Yes, it fit to potential energy concept.

Anyway, so how micro hydro can be detect by remote sensing tech?
As you know, remote sensing has a powerful equipment to analysis, is an satellite imagery. From imagery we can see all surface objects all around the world. It could distinguish one object to another up to 0.6 m length. Exactly, it depends on the spatial resolution of the satellite. Recently, satellite imagery, exp Geoye, can distinguish objects by 0.4 m length. To identify micro hydro sources, we must know what micro hydro is, how it works, and what the manifest on the earth surface.

We use DEM (digital elevation model) to reveal the sources information. DEM shows us the elevation information of some areas. We can extract slope and stream from it. Slope data we use to know the value of area’s heading. Heading, we can say, is a surface height difference. With a bit help from grass and qgis (open source software of imagery processing and spatial data analysis) we could find the head of the stream, we called that Head Stream. Then, we search all areas in stream where have high head value. It might possible its the potential place of micro hydro sources, called outlet.

As we know outlet, we can come to the place and install a turbine there. We could also find the catchment area (basin) from the outlet, all we need is flow direction of the stream and the outlet coordinate. Catchment area is useful to knowing how great the power output from the outlet. Indonesia have a lot of big rivers either small rivers. It could be a powerful energy source with the plus benefit are renewable. I hope my country could reach energy independencies by exploring this kind of renewable energy. We have many (micro hydro, geothermal, solar power, etc).

Again, its exciting.


5 thoughts on “Micro Hydro Energy

  1. Ah, so your project is about finding some best area for micro hydro installation, isn’t it? It’s an interesting project I think, I got surprised you currently doing this project because I’ve just knew from your post that micro hydro also can be detected by remote sensing.

    Let’s say, if you already know the flow direction of the stream and the outlet coordinate to find the catchment area, is it necessary to know how strong the river (whether it’s big either small one) currents? I mean to know to how great the power output from the outlet, CMIIW you also should know how strong the water current.

    Keep the spirit and your great work Wasil, good luck!


  2. Thanks for saying, both of you. I just try to make some positive changes to my life and community. Hope this helpful.

    Yes, you’re right, we can find the power value if debit data exist. As you know, power is a function of water density, height, and debit. So, we calculate some operation which include slope data (shows the height difference), stream data (shows the spatial coordinate), and basin (shows catchment area coverage). I think it’s a good choice alternate energy instead solar power, especially in Indonesia.


    • Yes you’re right. Even if we compare the micro hydro system with biodiesel, micro hydro shows more benefits I think. Although it has limitation, about the characteristic of its location/site, it has no direct emissions resulting from its conversion process. Micro hydro power is a renewable, indigenous and non-polluting resource. It also very potential in rural development. If you said that you do this project for trying to make some (+) changes for community, it’s a yes, you’re doing it right.

      By the way while working for this project, maybe you should read this paper (or you’ve read it? I don’t know). It’s an ‘old’ paper, but maybe can acquire your knowledge (or contact the corresponding author if it’s necessary 🙂 ). Here’s the link, I hope you can download it via ITB’s portal.



  3. Wasiiill, I don’t know this was a coincidence or not, but I’ve been working like your recent project (micro hydro). The different is I’m using ArcGIS’s geoprocessing tools to find the best are to deploy the system. And I’m still learning about that, and Im using DEM too, please sharing about your remote sensing method :)). After all, you’re still my sensei everywhere 😀


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