Remote Monitoring for Microhydro Sites

BlueStreak Equipment Inc. designs and manufactures micro-hydro turbines and develops micro-hydro sites. These small hydro producing sites are scattered across Ontario and daily visits to monitor them is not practical.

In an effort to develop a more efficient and cost effective approach to monitor operations at micro hydro sites, Bluestreak approached Durham College for assistance in developing a remote system that could detect when there is a system fault, so that crew members could be dispatched quickly to fix it.

Monitoring systems currently on the market are designed for large installations that can afford larger capital costs and monthly fees. Micro systems are too small to support these costs. A simple, cost effective version of a monitoring system was developed by the students and faculty members at Durham College using the simple integration of three components — a micro-controller device, a cellular shield to allow cellular calls and text messages, and a current sensor to detect faults. The device was tested, and successfully sent a text message when the power was turned on and off on the line current sensor. The success of this low-cost remote monitoring system will allow Bluestreak to take the device to market and deploy their systems across Ontario.

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