Mini/Micro Hydro Technology

Introduction

The mini/micro-hydropower sector in Nepal has a long history. Since the time immemorial, people in the rural areas use to build water mills (locally called as Ghatta) for harnessing waterpower for the purpose of processing of agricultural products. Nepal being endowed with huge hydro potential and favorable geographical set-ups, uncountable number of such Ghattas even exists today.


The formal use of micro hydropower was initiated during the decade of 1960s in Nepal. Swiss assisted to establish a manufacturing company named Balaju Yantra Shala in Kathmandu in 1960. United Missions to Nepal (UMN) initiated establishment of institutions to support technology development mostly in Bhutwal (western part of Nepal) more or less at the same period. There were some private workshops based on indigenous knowledge and practices established in Kathmandu and in Butwal primarily to produce and install small water mills, widely known as “Turbine Mill” during the 1970s. The water Mills were used extensively for processing of agricultural products utilizing direct mechanical power. Addition of generators became popular at the later stage for the electrification of the area in the vicinity. The establishment of private manufacturing companies further spread in eighties and subsequent decades. 

 

Most of equipment or components (e.g., Turbines, Trash Racks, Mild steel Pipes, Conductors and Load Controllers) are, in general, locally manufactured in Nepal. Generator and valves are imported from abroad especially from India and china, and also from Europe in some cases.


The evolution of the standardization process, rather in a limited manner, started from late eighties. Intermediate Technology Development Group (ITDG) and the Agricultural Development Bank of Nepal (ADB/N) initialed a joint programme in order to enhance the technological base of the micro-hydro installations in the country.