Karl Kolmsee, Smart Hydro Power
Innovative Hybrid Microgrid & Distribution System Facilitating Community Kitchen & Lighting Residential Homes
Peru, South America
Via its agency Innovate, the Peruvian government sought to introduce technical innovation to remote places in Peru. Together with its Peruvian partner ECI Consulting, Smart Hydro Power showcased a comprehensive hybrid solution addressing residential and community needs. With a limited budget of Euro 105,000, electricity supply, water treatment system and a biogas system based on organic waste were implemented
Smart Hydro Power develops and fabricates micro hydro-kinetic plants and hybrid PV-hydro energy management systems for rural electrification. Smart Hydro Power has so far realized projects in Brazil, Peru and Colombia. Smart Hydro Power puts specific focus on technology appropriation as most important means for facilitating sustainable projects.
The aim of the project was to showcase a new microgrid technology based on advanced load management allowing different types of demand to run (residential, productive use, deferrable load) depending on generation capacity. It was also important to introduce the technology to the rural population allowing a proper appropriation which makes electrification projects sustainable.
The Challenge The village of Bellavista in the Peruvian Napo basin was remote from the federal capital of Iquitos and had no prior experience with electricity. Migration to Iquitos and Lima affected the village adversely with young talented men and women leaving.
There were abundant renewable resources like biomass, water and sun – with some limitations on the radiation as a result of the rainforest. As diesel was expensive and often not available, renewables were extremely competitive.
The solution implemented in Bellavista was based on Smart Hydro Power’s standard module with two kinetic turbines, 4 kWp photovoltaic, 20 kWh batteries and an advanced energy system with a micro-processor controlling three different circuits for the community kitchen, the residential homes and a pump for a water treatment system. The water treatment system itself worked with the water relying on gravity from a tank through a membrane filter. The tank was storing energy as supply and demand were decoupled. The energy management system did have a GPS interface which worked with satellite or telecommunication coverage – which had not been installed so far due to the lack of available satellite services. The micro controller steered the system in a way that the community house with a small kitchen (mixer, fridge, ice cube production for commercial orange juice processing) had priority, electricity was served from 06:00 to 10:00 p.m. by the turbines and the batteries which were loaded during the day to the households while overnight generation was run by the turbine drives the pump. In addition, a biogas plant with 1 m3 volume was used to transform organic waste to gas which in turn could be used for cooking. Due to the strong positive impact of the community kitchen on the average household income, the power electronics were well-received and were properly serviced. The biogas plant was under-utilized as the direct positive advantage of biogas over wood were not yet fully accepted.
The budget of Euro 105,000 was sponsored by Innovate and the Peruvian Government Agency.
The small village of Bellavista with 20 households has now become a lighthouse project within an underprivileged area. Local servicing ran with no reported problems.