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Alternative energy news, and information about renewable energy technologies.

Apr 11

Hydro Power Invention

Posted in Energy Inventions | Hydro Power

Hydro PowerA new hydro power technology is being developed by

Sarfraz Ahmad Khan

of Pakistan. In theory these hydro plants would not require a reservoir and would have a minimal impact on the environment. They could be run side-by-side in rows and would be much cheaper to build, operate and maintain. Sarfraz has high hopes that his ideas could revolutionize hydro power in his country and across the globe. He is currently seeking expert confirmation of his ideas; this article provides a brief summary of his ideas along with some of the 3D images he has created. You can help him by leaving your comments at the bottom of the page, or by joining the discussion that inspired this article.

Hydro Power Invention
SketchUp File 1 | Download SketchUp

What is this Project?

This project is an idea based upon the principal of converting the potential energy of wild flowing rivers into electrical power (without having a huge reservoir). As we know in hydro-power generation there are two major aspects which play vital role: first is water head and second is water velocity. In this structure of equipment, we try to obtain maximum output from a river’s velocity. Very high water head cannot be achieved with out huge cost.

What are the ideal locations for this kind of project?

Mountain Ranges where the downward inclination of a river is remarkable, including areas near to the glaciers, or near to the sources of rivers (Mountain Ranges). In Pakistan there are many possible sites like Kaghan, Naran, Sawat Valley, Kashmir, Chitral, and Skardu.

What are the advantages of this project?

  1. Less expensive
  2. Environment friendly.
  3. Maximum output achieved.
  4. Multiple setups in one row (breast wheel).
  5. Jobs are created in hilly regions.
  6. Low maintenance (minimum staff required).

What are the disadvantages?

These hydro power units can only achieve maximum performance in the summer season when the river’s flow is strongest. In the winter months the flow of water is reduced and out-put can be significantly lower. However, this project should feasible enough as it does not require a large budget to build, operate and maintain. Moreover, electricity needs are higher in the summer months anyway, so this type of hydro technology would help to fulfill the country’s electricity demands during peak season.

Hydro Power Design
SketchUp File 2 | Download SketchUp

Brief working details

1. This project can be engineered in the mountain ranges where the rivers have a high velocity and a narrow width.
2. The first phase is to construct the concrete walls on the banks of the river to straighten the flow of water.
3. After that the stream holding structure will be constructed (mostly metallic). It will hold the stream collector bodies at a certain point where max pressure of water may be achieved to make the powerful out let stream and water head approx 2m.
4. Stream collector bodies may be gripped by metallic rods of stream collector holding structure which would be connected to the simple water level monitoring system. As the water level rises in the river the stream collector bodies would be lifted upward to reduce the extra pressure of water. When the water level gets lower the system could automatically push the stream collector bodies down.
5. Once we achieve the stream outlet pressure, a generator holding structure can be installed in front of the stream outlets. The potential energy of water can rotate the electricity generator to produce the electric power.
6. Several units of this set up can be installed in a row in order to reduce the cost and maximize the output.

Possible challenges

1. The stream collector bodies water cause water levels to rise more than the required head. In this case some water exhaust canals in the sideway (for flood event) may help.
2. Computerized water level monitoring systems should be able to move the steam collector bodies and rotator upward or downward. This will keep the flow and function of the generator steady so that it will not be affected by the increase or decrease of the water level.
3. Floating wooden logs or trees may damage the system. To prevent this, a metallic grid should be installed (before installation) in order to filter out river debris.
4. For safety and to prevent damage in the event of flooding or rough rivers, stream collector bodies and rotators could be pulled upward and out of the water surface.

System components

  • Stream collector bodies.
  • Stream collector holding structure.
  • Concrete walls.
  • Stream outlet.
  • Generator holding structure.
  • Generator turbine.
  • Sideways canals for excessive water flow.
  • Water level monitoring system, connected to the mechanical system (for lifting the stream collector bodies and turbine units, upward and downward).
  • Infrastructure for electrical power stabilization and distribution.

Estimated power output

Volume of water per sec = 18 ~ 25m³
Velocity of water = 9.8m / sec
Water head = 2m
Efficiency = 75 %

Request for analysis and conclusions

I am looking for assistance with this project. I would like to know if this project would be feasible, so I am asking for your expert opinion and analysis. Ultimately I would like to construct a small lab model in order to prove my hypothesis, but I have been unable to acquire technical assistance. Some of the more important factors still to be considered are the tentative costs and power output.

— Sarfraz Ahmad Khan

109-West, Blue Area, Islamabad, Pakistan
Cell Phone: 0092-322-5106080
Fax: 0092-51-2828409
Phone: 0092-51-2206873

If you would like to help Sarfraz verify this idea you can add a comment at the bottom of this article or contribute to a discussion of the topic.

  • Doug Dante

    Just looks like a regular dam that you can hydraulically lift away. Um, they have release systems on current dams that do the same thing, but they’re much less expensive. You’ll still need to divert the entire river to build the thing, and if you block the river, you’re gonna make some sort of lake behind it. Doesn’t seem that useful, unless I’m missing something major. Also, why not enclose the turbines? I think that you get a lot more energy that way.

  • David Teal

    It is great to see the enthusiasm of Sarfraz Ahmad Khan, but it would be best if he would read some books about hydro-power before getting too excited about this concept. I spent 30 years designing, building and operating hydro. There are many existing schemes in Pakistan which Mr. Kahn could visit. Having said that, it is true that the stated velocity and flow rate are unusual and few direct precedents exist. The choice of breast wheel turbine does seem appropriate, but why not suspend it above the torrent on a horizontal axis? The more traditional approach would be to capture the water as it starts its descent and pipe it to an enclosed turbine(s) at the foot of the rapids.

  • Miroslav Karas

    I am not an expert in building the hydro power system (electrical engineer), however I have some interest in unconventional approach. I like you thinking of simplification the hydro power, however I will direct you to the work of Viktor Schauberger and his approach of building “eco” friendly hydro power. It might give you very interesting ideas.

    The only thing that I will change in Schauberger approach will be the restricting wall. Instead permanent wall I will build systems of barriers/valves that when clous will have the characteristic shape (as show in the picture in the link), and when open will provide unrestricted flow of water.

  • Sepp Hasslberger

    I am happy to see that this idea is finally taking hold and that there is actual development or at least a strong desire to further develop it.

    In the early nineties I wrote two articles about this concept, both accessible on my site on this page:

    The titles are “Understanding Water Power” and “Dynamic Hydropower”. It is this last one that has been taken up by Frank Germano on his site.

    Anyway, one small piece of advice: Schauberger said that water has its own way of flowing that does not necessarily conform with our ideas. Therefore, the conformation of “concrete walls on the banks of the river to straighten the flow of water” would have to be carefully geared to encourage the water’s tendency to increase flow velocity. The secret of success or failure of any such project will be in how well these pre-flow channels are researched and conformed to increase velocity. The rest will be done by the water’s own inertia.

    Sepp Hasslberger

  • Phi Tran

    Hi ALL.

    It’s depend on what type of turbine that we are talking.

    1- Testa. This is a kind turbine harnessing the potential energy of the flow. – I beleive you have this in mind. The barrier is to increase the water head?

    2- I also encourage to take a look of the way to harnessing the kinetic energy of the flow. With the 9.8m/s water velocity you are having >300KW/m^2. You may not need the barricate/dam at all. There are several type of rotor you can approach. The propeller as the wind turbine. The Daarieus type of rotor. And of course I like to mention ours; the neo-aerodynamict base on our primilary test a 2m diameter and 1m height we expect it will generate 1.5MW. ( The reason we com to this numbber is it generate a NET >2KW at that wind speed, We then multiply it 786 (water is 786 times the weight of the air). We will let you know when the result comes.
    btw: if you wonder how ours look alike then it is:

    Hope this helps.


    Note: A google on “tyson turbine” also give an other type of small scale hydro-kinetic power generator.

  • Miroslav Karas

    Does any body have more precize picture/plans of Schauberger turbine?

  • Brian Leonard

    Great ideas. I’d be interested in seeing if there is a way to continue the development of this type of concept without being a destructive ecological presence. Perhaps there is a way to harness just a portion of the water speed, keeping the location of the actual turbine elements stationed in specific locations where animal and plant life would be unaffected (which wouldn’t be too hard to find in high speed current locations).

    As an architect and environmental designer, we’re seeing a very large push for “sustainable” resources that can be encorporated into the local development (as opposed to a specific site somewhere in the mountains taht requires the energy be transported to the public somewhere else). It seems to me that this concept is already very close to being a capable candidate for a “sustainable” solution.

    Not sure about everyone’s interest level on this subject, but I personally feel it’s worth investigating!

  • Phi Tran

    Hello Brian.
    I copy your comment to
    I hope it’s OK to you.


  • Gahtan Vahidy

    What do you think of the following technologies and their applicability to Pakistan’s northern area river system?

  • Phi Tran

    Hi Gahtan.
    As inventor of “Neo-Aerodynamic”, all I can say is: It should works; theoretically; in the environment that is deep enough, the flow is steady without turbulence.
    The idea of hanrnessing free-flow energy from the river is not new. It has been a challenge for many centuries.
    Almost any technology that you and I know off should work. You can put a Savonius, Darrieus, any thing that can be turn by the wind; it will work at the river. But how effective it is? is a different matter. As I recall (in the 60s) the US Navy had done extensive test on turbines to see if it works in the flow of water.

    This has beem a puzzle to me why those technologies are not implemented before. I also notice that the ocean wave does cause the “wave surface current” (like river but it’s slow). I also see many attempts trying to taps into wave energy via this kind of mechanism. Finally I have to settle myself with this answer: “If then can make money; it works; it’s already done”.

    Hope this helps.


  • Tapera Mangezi

    Great innovation. I certainly support the project and would like to give advise throughout the project. I am also into small hydro projects.

  • Greg Turner

    Why not combine the water flow from a river into a piping system similar to a dam system but let the water flow back into the river downstream. Use the water pressure head for the flow, no ecological upset. Then incorporate massive gearing to increase mechanical speed. You would have to get an outside power source to get all the machine gearing up to speed but then the after speed is obtained use the energy from the flow to maintain the speed. Basically a huge flywheel that gets up to speed with an outside source then maintained by the water flow through gearing. There are a few neat ideas with bearings and low resistance gearing that could be applied even the magnetic floating idea could be used. the result would be free energy with very minimal ecological impact.

  • Iftikhar Siddiqi

    Whenever I visited northern areas of Pakistan, I wished someone will come up with an idea to generate hydel power using fast flow of our rivers. Though I am a non-technical person in this field, I extend my assistance to Mr. Sarfraz in carrying out any related work for his project.


    I’m a 20 year old boy studying electrical engineering especially in power systems. I respect about your idea in making a hydro power plant. I hope you can realize your idea in order to solve the energy crisis in the world today. But every new idea would not be accepted as we expect, so we have to keep struggling for our ideas. I hope you can email me more details about your idea for me to study. I live in Indonesia exactly in the province of ACEH. We have so many rivers here that still haven’t been explored to build hydro power plant. Thank you for your attention.

  • yom

    I have a solar invention.


    Dear Sarfraz:

    I have read your idea carefully. I am a mechanical engineer. I do agree that your working in quite precious but the way u want to produce power will raise its production cost.

    Anyway I am happy to tell you that for the last ten years I have been working on an idea of producing very cheap power from Zero-plus gravity. Thanks for your time, you may would like to note my address:

    English Shoes, Mian Bazar, Sangla Hill, Pakistan.
    Mob No. 0333-6581810

  • D Bagley

    What about the ocean? Drive a tunnel into the base of a cliff which is submersed even at low tied. In the shaft build paddled driven shafts to turbines, housed in rooms mined into the cliffs, and drives to gear and to rotate geared pumps to extract inflow of the sea; this is then expelled back into the sea from the cliff face above the high tide mark.

    A small amount of Power could be used for suction pumps to remove any water that as got past the geared pumps, there should be sufficient power for all over the world. I suppose this could be used in any water way, but the sea would be ideal there would be a never ending supply of power, I have made a small model, try it? I almost finished but ran out of money

  • Anindya

    Dear Sarfraz,

    It was great to know about your project. It really seems to be very exciting but the thing is please don’t get carried away with the prospects that the success of this project might have in store…..but best of luck anyways…

    Now on a more serious note…instead of building slopes to channelize the water and increase the velocity you might consider to use a pipe or some sort of diversion and if you use a reduction adapter then that would increase the water pressure and velocity even in the winter using a diversion would allow you to channel the water to a different location and that i would guess would help you to reduce cost of construction and maintenance of the entire plant than that would be required to construct this in the river….since i guess cutting down on costs is a major area of consideration….

    So good luck once more……

  • tony

    I know that it is feasible as I have an invention of a micro hydro that is perpetual and working. The technology has been around for years but the oil and coal companies would try and shut me up before I can get it to market. There is hope it is just around the corner.

  • Iftikhar Siddiqi

    Comments on serial 15 refer.

    Mr/Ms Yom,
    I would like to know about your solar product. Please contact me at
    Iftikhar Siddiqi

  • Aziz ur Rehmah

    This is a very good idea. You may construct a little model and then ask for expert openions.


    It is a very good effort. This system is already in place at NANDIPUR on Sialkot road around 13 Miles from Gujranwala. If our Government just copy that concept and introduce on all canals which have uniform flow of water we can overcome our energy problems. On Lower Bari Doab Canal from OKARA to Harappa 100 Hydel power units may be installed.

    Akhtar Ali Athar

  • Alfa Omaga

    Mr/Ms Yom,

    I would also like to know about your new solar device and would even like to invest into it. So e-mail me at little_will777[AT] I would appreciate it if you would answer my message.

  • Lloyd Weaver

    This is not a cost effective design. Why not use a diverting wing at a river backflow point upstream and feed a portion of the river’s water (all of it at low flows) down a penstock overland using flexible welded HDPE pipe? You’ll get a lot more power for a lot less money invested.

  • Muhammad Asif

    The natural streams in mountainous areas of Pakistan carry heavy loads of sediments (sand, gravel, boulders etc). This bed material, if allowed to pass through the turbines, will destroy the mechanical equipment in a matter of months.

    That is why the conventional methods are preferred where a new water way is constructed in the form of a canal or pipe or even a tunnel. The new water way carries the river flows to the sandtraps or other similar structures for sand removal from where the clean water is conveyed to the turbines.

    Pakistan has about 40,000 MW potential of hydropower development including the proposed mega projects like Basha (4500 MW), Dassu (4000 MW), Bunji (5500 MW), Neelum-Jhelum (1000 MW). We should be spending our limited resources to the technologies already tested and proven successful.

    I don’t mean any disrespect to Mr. Sarfeaz but in my humble opinion once we have developed enough electricity to overcome the current shortages in Pakistan, we can venture into the unknown technical domains.

  • Ali and Charlotte


    We think this Idea is excellent! We are part of a group called Model United Nations and our topic for our next conference is the Environmental impact of large dams. This is a wonderful alternative! We see it as far more environmentally sound and economically feasible. We are planning to use it in our next conference (credited to you of course) and try to get UN funding for you in our mock debate!

    Just so, you know it would not be real funding. MUN is a student organized mock-UN group that takes real world issues and debates them in pretend committees.
    Thanks for the idea. It is great! We wish you luck and hope to see you in the news as a great success!

  • Dr. Shafiq -ur-Rehman

    Dear Sarfraz,

    It is a good idea really. However, it will have many implementation problems before this idea gets mature. But all research ideas evolve in years to give a market product.

    A prototype model (.i.2 1/100th of original size) may be tested. Simulation work may also be carried out using CFD ( Computational Fluid Dynamics)techniques, which will give us a very good prediction.

    For actual implementation we need to have a mapping study of the water/ river behavior of a specific location. This study will give us the possibilities of floods, high/low levels and other climate behavior etc.

    I am at Karachi (NUST Campus) and we are trying to kick start a similar research to utilize the ocean wave/tides.

    I think a bit late to see your this posting, but still I can offer you some technical assistance.

  • Sarfraz Ahmad

    Here is Sarfraz Ahmad. Author of this article.

    Good Day to all! Those who like to contact me through e-mail can send me their letters at (sarfrazahmad2807[AT] and Cell: 0092-322-5106080) In a few weeks I will try to launch a few new articles with some refinements in Run of River and Hydro-Hydraulic concepts. Once again thanks for your comments those helped me a lot…

  • rajesh angural

    Hi, anything is possible in this world whether good or bad for humanity. But if your goals are for the betterment of humanity, the question of your failure does not arise. wish you good luck.

  • Dr Ghulam Jilani

    Yeah, it’s a great idea, surely practicable. However, this will need the approval and the involvement of government for implementation. Better, also to design such a project for small streams and canals at local level, so that small communities or individual can generate power by their own. Examples, of Vietnam and Canada can be helpful. Your great efforts are appreciated, and encouraged to go forward.

  • Azmat Ali Shah

    Happy to see Mr.Sarfraz’s research work continues for the search of non-expensive energy venues. In this context,I fully agree with Mr.Akhtar Ali Athar for just copying the hydel power set up at Nandipur for present utilization,we can make use of the latest developments in the similar systems for betterment. Also I agree with Mr.Muhammad Asif in his comment that instead of finding some new or expensive way of power generation, we should opt for already proven systems which have been in operations for the last several decades or so. Our top brass, technical professionals and finance providers should get up from their slumber and do something till it is too late to rectify the damage.

  • Rick

    I have seen several viable run of the river turbines. I think If I were you I would take a quick look at patents that were awarded back in the 1800’s you will be surprised at how much design was done and accomplished to provide mechanical work before electricity.

    Just a thought
    Good luck to you!Keep it up!

  • manohar kalkundrikar

    Really we are not using our water source to generate power. we can we use the water to generate power by recycling. but i think very few places this system is use. for hydro power plant water is necessary and we can use the water after generating power.

  • Vinayak Sharma

    The idea is really cool… but again there is a need to generate alternative sources everywhere… his idea can be modified to build up an idea which would not only use hydro power… but also thermal power and other common sources… But still i liked the concept very much.

  • chewi

    i can help you with your project if you require. i have been testing a method of completely controlling the energy of flowing water. increasing and decreasing when required and unlike a turbine dam, i can harness the flowing water every 10yards from source to destination. it is quite easy to increase the gravity of flowing water

  • Ananda Ruhunuhewa

    I read your explanation and some comments.
    I got a patent for “Sea wave forcing Inlet-valve cluster for high altitude energy”, in Sri Lanka.
    My question is: Are you giving a special attention to the bottom pressure of the flow. On these days I am developing another design.

    Have you already realized your project? or have you a model plant?

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