Hydro power: Pico and Micro Hydropower Systems


Pico & Micro Hydropower System: Low-Cost Hydroelectric Generator

The “Micro Hydropower System” developed by Nakayama Iron Works Ltd., is a type of hydroelectric system that can produce a few kW to 1 MW of electricity. Until now, the company has installed hydropower plants with a maximum capacity of 49.9kW, and they are now working on a project with a maximum capacity of 420kW. The technology can produce electricity using small streams as main resource for power generation.

The system was developed based on the company's expertise in crushing machines. Keeping the rotation of crushing machines in mind, the company came to understand that this rotation can be used as a power source, which led to the idea of developing micro hydro systems, where the rotation of turbine is converted to electricity. The company's main product is recycling machineries (crushing machines) and they are keen to make the environment clean and safe.




Major Features and Advantages

I. Wide Range of Turbine Types and Capacity

The company offers different types of hydro turbines, e.g. Cross flow turbine, Pelton turbine, Francis turbine, Propeller turbine, Kaplan turbine, Pump turbine etc. They offer turbines with a capacity of a few kW to 1 MW. All turbines work under different range of head and discharge. Based on the site data suggested by the customer, and the geological condition at the site, the company offers suitable turbines for the respective sites.

II. Installation

To install a hydro turbine at any site, it requires flow of water coming from some heights. Geological condition at the site also needs to be considered. A micro hydro system can be installed at a range of different sites including, irrigation canal, rivers (run of river systems), existing dam for irrigation or drinking and water purification plants.

III. On/off Grid

The micro hydro systems can be operated on or off the grid system depending on the user and availability at the site. The system has an electric control panel that switches the energy supply on/off. It provides power independently to homes and small business facilities, or complements other energy sources such as solar photovoltaic and wind.

The company supplies electromechanical equipments of micro hydro systems. To fulfill the requirements of micro hydro, the company has connections with consultants (Seiko Electric, Nishigikogyo, River village etc.), civil companies (local construction companies), electric and control companies (Yaskawa elec., Seiko Electric etc.) and turbine makers from Indonesia and Japan.


Technology Data

Conceivable applications

  • Run-of-river with a minimum head drop of about 2-3 m (even in remote areas). Particular attention shall be paid to the selection of site with potential for high value return and profit.
  • Off-grid electrification development system

Competitive advantage

The micro turbine is a matured technology, so manufacturing of the mechanical parts of the equipment (Pelton Wheel, Cross flow system) can be made either in Indonesia or in Japan, depending on the conditions.

Our company’s competitive advantages are as follows, which we have got through joint research with Kyushu University, and other manufactures.

  1. Low cost to manufacture micro turbine power system.
  2. Reliability and stability of the electric control panel system, which is based on the multiple experiences accumulated through the development of ON/OFF grid systems for solar and wind power generators.
  3. Reduced cost for power generation by this micro turbine power system (approx. 1,000,000 JPY/kW), which is significantly low, comparing with the cost by conventional power generation systems.


Introduction of small hydro power generation installation of less than 200kW capacity as an ON/OFF grid system.

OFF Grid

Example A: Application of the micro hydro turbine power system in household network.



Example B: Combined application of photovoltaic power system and micro hydro turbine power system in household network.




ON Grid

Electric grid is an interconnected network of several power sources, such as solar, wind, and hydro electric plants. It is necessary to undertake joint research with researchers, manufacturers, and PLN. The micro hydro turbines are applicable to rural areas.



Technical maturity

Small community development projects in Japan:

– 200 W Pico hydro with Pelton wheel (2012)




– 15 kW Mini hydro integrated with Pelton wheel (10 kW) and Cross flow type (5 kW) systems (2014).





Based on conventional technology, we started to develop small hydroelectric power systems using water conduit in 2012. Later, in collaboration with the Indonesian Small Hydropower Association, a more affordable technology was established and successfully implemented.

Additionally, we have been proceeding with a small hydropower project in India since 2012 with JAG Seabell co., Ltd. through OEM to provide turbines for hydro power generation. There are a lot of potential sites overseas that can be considered for power generation using ultra-low head technology. More irrigation channels are located in those sites, comparing with Japan.

*For more information on the JAG Seabell co., Ltd.’s Micro hydropower system, please check here.

Conceivable risk

ON Grid electrification system difference from country to country.

Information on patent related to this technology

Patent 2014-003848


Contact person

Mr. Yoshinobu WATANABE / Ms. Sayaka OKA

Tel.: +81-954-22-4171

Fax: +81-954-23-0691

E-mail: [email protected]

URL: www.nakayamairon.co.jp

Technology owners

Nakayama Iron Works, Ltd.