June 1, 2012 Project Pre-Announcement
We are excited to announce a first-of-kind renewable energy project installing an EcoHydro System(TM) at a large dairy farm in Vermont to produce renewable, environmentally-sustainable electricity for the farm’s barns.
October 20, 2012 Project Pre-Announcement
The US Department of Agriculture Rural Energy for America Program (USDA/REAP) has announced that Little Green Hydro (LGH) has been awarded a grant supporting the installation of the EcoHydro System(TM) on a farm in Vermont. The System will be installed on the Circle Saw Farm in Braintree, a large dairy farm, to provide 100% renewable, environmentally-sustainable electricity to the farm. Our goal is to power *all* the lighting in the Heifer Barn with renewable electricity from the EcoHydro System. If we have reasonable weather conditions, we hope to have the system up and running before winter producing immediate economic benefits for the farm…. reduced electric bills! The payback period for the system is expected to be less than seven years.
November 20, 2012 Installing the Penstock
On a crisp (18 degree) November morning, we began installation of the 3″ PVC pipe that will serve as the Penstock for the EcoHydro System(TM) at the Circle Saw Farm (CS Farm) site. This particular type of pipe and diameter is typical of that we normally use for a Penstock; twenty-foot sections with a 200 PSI rating.
Bob from the CS Farm brought out his farm equipment and made an excellent trench from the Intake site following a path downhill to the Power Unit site. The distance of the Penstock for the CS Farm will be about twelve-hundred feet, which is fairly typical for our EcoHydro System installations, but some sites may require up to two-thousand feet or more of Penstock to gain sufficient hydraulic head.
After considerable heavy lifting and carrying, we maneuvered the pipe into place in the trench, jointed the sections and lastly properly bedded the pipe by walking the length and with hand and shovel seated the Penstock in loose soil, removing any sharp and/or large stones. With the frozen and liquid remains of the recent rain/snow storm (see the photo at left) this made for a muddy, cold day! But it was also great day because we completed this first important installation step. Next comes the backfilling of the Penstock and then Power Cable and Power Unit installation. Things are starting to move!
November 30, 2012 Penstock Done!
We’ve now finished the installation of the Penstock and, with the ground beginning to freeze up it’s a good thing… it was almost zero last night! In the photo at the left, you can see that the Penstock has been covered (backfilled) – Bob used his farm equipment – and the area can now be smoothed as necessary in the spring for pasture growth. The facts on the Penstock are; 1,200 feet of continuous, high-pressure (200 PSI), industrial-grade PVC pipe safely buried for the entire distance. You may ask, “why do you need to bury the pipe?” and the answer is; “The EcoHydro System is a high-quality, reliable solution that you can rely on for constant power year-round.”
When the Penstock reaches the site for the Power Unit, it generally emerges from the ground for a short distance. In the photo below, you can see where the Penstock exits the ground (the “termination” of the Penstock). The Penstock will be connected to the Power Unit once the Power Unit is installed and this section will either be backfilled or insulated. In this photo, you can also see the planned site for the Power Unit and the Power and DataComm cables that have been pulled to the site in the installation process. More on the Power & DataComm Cables in the next post. We plan to install the Power Unit within the next few weeks, weather permitting.
The Way Home!
This photo is taken from the bottom of the hill looking back up at the barnyard…. nice view!
We’ll be back to finish the Power & DataComm Cables next week once the forecast thaw has eased things up a bit… mercury is way down there again tonight!
This shot is a little further down the hill to give you a perspective.
December 1, 2012 Power & DataComm Cables
We started installing the Power Cable and the DataComm Cable yesterday in the coldest day yet of the year. The Power Cable will transmit the electrical energy from the Power Unit (48V DC) to the Energy Storage Unit in the barn. The DataComm Cable will transmit sensor information from the Power Unit that will let us know the operational state of the Hydraulic Manifold and Penstock at all times.
The total distance of the cables from the Power Unit to the Energy Storage Unit at the Heifer Barn is about 900 feet.
Bob started digging a shallow (~2′) trench with his farm equipment last week from the Power Unit site to about two-thirds the distance to the barn. We then pulled out the cables, installing them in the trench as we went along. While these are direct-burial cables, we also checked the cables once installed to ensure that there were no sharp or large rocks near the cable. In the photo below, you can see the cables pulled out down the trench towards the Power Unit location. The barnyard in the photo is a secondary barn, not the Heifer Barn, and is about two-thirds of the total cable distance.
December 7, 2012 Cables Done!
After some more muddy work in the snow and a little freezing rain, we’ve finished the Power Cable and DataComm Cable installation. The cables are now buried and run from the Power Unit to the outside wall of the Heifer Barn utility room. John has tested and verified each cable for continuity so we know they will work just fine.
Next step is to terminate the cables at the barn and run them into the Energy Storage Unit in the utility room.
We delivered the Power Unit to the Farm yesterday and moved it into place. While this model is definitely heavy, it also very rugged and will be out there 24X7 braving all the elements that all the Vermont seasons can throw at it… especially winter! You can see from these photos that the Power Unit has been set in place. Now we need to make the connections and then test the unit. Follow the completion of this project at www.littlegreenhydro.com.
James Perkins is co-founder of Little Green Hydro, maker of the EcoHydro System (TM). Involved with technology for over thirty years, James has started and grown seven successful entrepreneurial companies and lives in a renewables-powered home that he and his son built in Corinth, Vermont.