How They Work:“The hydroelectric generator”

IT is important to note that, hydropower plants take advantage of a naturally occurring, continuous process the process that causes rain to fall and rivers to rise. Every day, our planet loses a small amount of water through the atmosphere as ultraviolet rays break water molecules apart.

IT is important to note that, hydropower plants take advantage of a naturally occurring, continuous process the process that causes rain to fall and rivers to rise. Every day, our planet loses a small amount of water through the atmosphere as ultraviolet rays break water molecules apart.

But at the same time, new water is emitted from the inner part of the Earth through volcanic activity. The amount of water created and the amount of water lost is about the same; this creates a status quo. At any one time, the world’s total volume of water is in many different forms. It can be liquid, as in oceans, rivers and rain; solid, as in glaciers; or gaseous, as in the invisible water vapour in the air. Water changes states as it is moved around the planet by wind currents. Wind currents are generated by the heating activity of the sun. Air-current cycles are created by the sun shining more on the equator than on other areas of the planet.

The Air-current cycles drive the Earth’s water supply through a cycle of its own, called the hydrologic cycle. As the sun heats liquid water, the water evaporates into vapour in the air. The sun heats the air, causing the air to rise in the atmosphere. The air is colder higher up, so as the water vapour rises, it cools, condensing into droplets. When enough droplets accumulate in one area, the droplets may become heavy enough to fall back to Earth as precipitation.  The hydrologic cycle is important to hydropower plants because they depend on water flow. If there is a lack of rain near the plant, water won’t collect upstream. With no water collecting up stream, less water flows through the hydropower plant and less electricity is generated.

The footwear with hydroelectric generator- basically, hydropower is to use the power of a moving liquid to turn a turbine blade. Typically, a large dam has to be built in the middle of a river to perform this function. A new invention is capitalizing on the idea of hydropower on a much smaller scale to provide electricity for portable electronic devices.  Some inventors like Robert Komarechka of Ontario, Canada, has come up with the idea of placing small hydropower generators into the soles of shoes. He believes these micro-turbines will generate enough electricity to power almost any gadget. In May 2001, Komarechka received a patent for his unique foot-powered device.

There’s a very basic principle to how we walk: The foot falls heel-to-toe during each step. As your foot lands on the ground, force is brought down through your heel. When you prepare for your next step, you roll your foot forward, so the force is transferred to the ball of your foot. Komarechka apparently noticed this basic principle of walking and has developed an idea to harness the power of this everyday activity. There are five parts to Komarechka’s “footwear with hydroelectric generator assembly,” as described below; Fluid - The system will use an electrically conductive fluid. Sacs to hold the fluid - One sac is placed in the heel and another in the toe section of the shoe. Conduits - Conduits connect each sac to a microgenerator. Turbine - As water moves back and forth in the sole, it moves the blades of a tiny turbine. Microgenerator - The generator is located between the two fluid-filled sacs, and includes a vane rotor, which drives a shaft and turns the generator.

As a person walks, the compression of the fluid in the sac located in the shoe’s heel will force fluid through the conduit and into the hydroelectric generator module. As the user continues to walk, the heel will be lifted and downward pressure will be exerted on the sac under the ball of the person’s foot. The movement of the fluid will rotate the rotor and shaft to produce electricity. An exterior socket will be provided to connect wires to a portable device. A power-control output unit may also be provided to be worn on the user’s belt. Electronic devices can then be attached to this power-control output unit, which will provide a steady supply of electricity. “With the increase in the number of battery-powered, portable devices,” the patent reads,”there is an increasing need to provide a long-lasting, adaptable, efficient electrical source.” Komarechka expects that his device will be used for powering portable computers, cell phones, CD players, GPS receivers and two-way radios.

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