Pico hydro in Greece

Pico hydroelectric installation in a mountain farm on Mount Iti – Greece

March 2013 from Kostas Latoufis

Alexandros and Ioanna live for the last four years in ‘Rodokalo’, the place name of a farmland on Mount Iti situated at an altitude of 850 meters at the boundary of the ‘Iti national park’. The land was used for growing vegetables for almost 100 years and then as grassland for farm animals. Today’s new residents strive daily to reach self-sufficiency with respect to the history and natural resources of the place. On the farm exists a plantation of fruit trees, vegetable gardens, a cistern with trout and spaces for goats and chickens, as well as some beehives. Finally there is a small house for permanent residence and small warehouses for storage of tools and materials.

Kostas from the New Guinea collective, after gaining some practical experience on small hydro installations by working along with small hydro designer and installer Richard Drover, undertook the project of powering the house and warehouses of the farm. In order to meet all the needs of the residents in electricity and hot water and since the property is located far from the main electricity grid and close to a stream that is running all year round, an off-grid pico hydro plant was designed.

The system uses 4.5 l/s of water flow, which then drops down 18m of dynamic head through a 140m polyethylene pipe and drives the small hydroelectric plant.

The turbine runner has been constructed by Joe Hartvigsen while the stainless steel casing was build in the workshop of Nea Guinea in Athens, following Joe’s plans from his website h-hydro.com. The generator is an axial flux permanent magnet generator of 500W rated power, designed and locally manufactured in the workshop of New Guinea, following the construction concepts described by Hugh Piggott in his ‘Wind turbine recipe’ book. In this way, the energy of the moving water mass is converted into electricity which is then stored in a small 24V battery bank. With the use of an inverter, the system has the ability to meet all the needs of the house in electricity such as lighting, general appliances such as TV, radio etc, washing machine, fridge and freezer. At the same time, and due to the continuous operation of the pico hydro plant, all the surplus energy that is not consumed instantaneously or stored in the batteries, is used for heating water for the kitchen and the bath.

Photos from the construction

Photos from the installation


About hugh

I live off-grid in NW Scotland and have spent my life playing with wind turbines. I also love small hydros. Hands on renewable energy is my thing and I like to learn and to share my experiences.
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4 Responses to Pico hydro in Greece

  1. Jean says:

    Dear hugh piggott, at first thanks to what you realize for years!
    Sorry for my English, (i use some translators) I lived in Toulouse in France.

    For several months, I am on a project, a friend has lend me your book of 2001 and your alternator could be the solution.
    I explain you the situation:
    Everywhere on the planet , structures Biorock are installed to restore corals, according to the process of the professor Tom Goreau.
    This process need electricity.
    1,2 to 1,5 volts DC (less than 2 V ), I : 10 to 15 A

    In Gili island, near Bali in Indonesia, the association gili eco trust realized more than 80 structures, which are supply from the beach.
    they would want a different supply, autonomous, more ecological and made by the local people to use the energy of sea currents they have built a gorlov turbine, (marine turbine), and look now for a system of alternator
    the idea: save corals with the energy of the sea (tidal)
    they have tide : 1,5m/s

    2 envisaged solutions:
    floating: problems storms, thefts, collisions with boats…
    (a solar installation has the same problems)
    or immersed: discretion but feasibility?
    Protected well by the resin and marine painting, and the bridge of diode molded in the stator,
    do you think that the alternator can work under the water, of 5 to 10 meters deep?
    (use ferrite magnet will be better )
    A frequent cleaning will be possible

    The second problem is the rotation speed, it is much slower than a wind turbine
    in your book, when you test the alternator : 60 tours / minutes: 3,4V DC
    but I do not know if we shall have this speed …
    DC output = speed + nb coils+magnets ….

    I go to gili island (one month) in November to make measures
    for information : their marine turbine has bearings teflon

    If the rotation speed is sufficient, we could fix the rotor to the axis of the turbine and the stator on the armature of the turbine?
    Otherwise it would be necessary to multiply the speed by gearings….

    I read your blog a lot, very rich in information and I try to perfect my English…
    translators are strange sometimes …
    may be you have a better idea to supply these structures?

    thank you for your help ,
    best regards

    some links:



    • admin says:

      hi Jean,

      Yes the idea has potential. If you can find out the working speed and power of the device then I can provide a design for the magnets and coils to suit it. Yes I think ferrite magnets are the best plan. You can do “fine tuning” of the speed and power by adjusting the spacing of the magnets away from the stator.

      I would worry about bearings, but I guess that teflon is OK.
      I’d also worry about the frictional drag of the moving rotors working under water. But it’s worth trying it out.

      have fun, Hugh

  2. Great job Kostas, thanks for sharing this!

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