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.