New software program can enhance utility of small hydropower in growing economies

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Researchers at Oregon State University have developed a new software program that users anywhere across the globe can use to check the small hydropower potential of a river stream. This can prove to be the best alternative for generating electricity that can help to resolve the power supply problem of developing nations.

This program is user-friendly and does not need data inaccessible in remote places. It can consider small hydropower potential in future owing to predicted climatic shifts and overflow of river streams. According to Oregon State University experts, organizations interested in the production of small hydropower can measure small hydropower potential and perfectly estimate its capability of fulfilling its present and future power requirements.

These kinds of small hydropower developments on running river streams have a great significance for remote places as well as hilly areas where the power supply is either unavailable or insufficient. There are few regions in the northern region of Pakistan where half of rural homes do not get the power supply. Cost-effective software programs as these can help the authorities to check small hydropower potential in order to generate power. The main strength of the software program is that it is user-friendly and accurate even though it operates with limited information.

This innovative software program was tested at 5MW small hydropower facility constructed in the early eighties on Falls Creek in the main Cascade Range of Oregon. At this location, it anticipated that future weather shifts will change its maximum power production from spring season to winter season and the yearly hydropower potential would diminish to certain extent owing to the climatic conditions prevailing during the period of 1980 to 2010.

According to researchers, small hydropower is popular as it can be produced by using elementary and inexpensive technology and does not need large reservoirs or dams to operate. Although all kinds of power have few ecological effects, small hydropower has a low impact on stream ecosystems and fisheries industry than key hydroelectric dams. It is also renewable and does not add to the greenhouse effect.

The technology is influenced by the seasonal fluctuation of flow of the river stream and the height from which the water drops down. If proper regulations are implemented to maintain minimal river-stream flow, it can help minimize ecological impacts.

As per Oregon researchers, most of the previous software programs used to evaluate or check particular locations for their small hydropower potential were unable to measure the effects of future atmospheric changes and relied more on the information not available in emerging economies.

This new free open source software program will help scientists, engineers and policy makers all across the globe to take correct decisions related to small hydropower growth and investments. All these factors are predicted to boost the demand and growth of the global small hydropower market.

It will also encourage more research in the field of small hydropower technology and will help in addressing power supply problems of the developing nations. As per Global Market Insights report, the global industry is predicted to record a CAGR of more than 2.6% during by end of 2024.

Author NameDhananjay Punekar

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