Study of the Feasibility of a Proposed Micro Hydropower System for Rural Electrification: The Case of Burundi
Musambi, Jean Michel
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Recently, decentralized energy systems are recognized as one of the major solutions to increase electricity access in remote areas. Micro hydropower (MHP) has attracted considerable attention in recent studies due to its numerous advantages including the cost-effectiveness, reliability, and viability. Previous research has indicated the practicability of MHP schemes in hilly and remote regions; especially in developing countries. Most studies in the field of MHP system have mostly focused on site conditions characterized by low head and high flow rate. This corresponds to the range of cross-flow and reaction turbines. The aim of this study was to design a simple, viable and reliable MHP system to provide electricity in rural areas in Burundi. This thesis also assesses the feasibility of the proposed MHP system. The sustainability assessment was also considered in this study. A field surveying provided all the characteristic of the selected site required for the design of the MHP system. RETscreen Analysis software was used for the feasibility study. Results showed that there is a gross head of 84 m and 0.0736 m3/s of available flow rate. The expected power output is 36.5 kW. These characteristics suggest a Pelton turbine of 34 cm of wheel diameter and 72 mm of jet diameter. The feasibility study suggested a total initial cost of $95,339 and an equity payback of 9.8 years. The sustainability assessment of the proposed system has shown a score of 3.487. The results of this study support the view that the MHP system can be technically and economically achieved.