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Home Forums General Discussion Eco-resort in Laos – power source ideas!

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    Hi – I would welcome suggestions on this project. I’ve been living in Thailand for 8 years, managing an on-grid resort. Now I’m moving to Laos and plan to build an eco-friendly resort, (with encouragement from the Lao government, since they are very keen for tourist projects.

    So here’s the detail. The location does have a single phase on-grid supply, but the amperage is probably about enough to power a lightbulb, and it is very unreliable.

    Laos is hot and humid, with little wind, and I need to keep my guestrooms cool, as well as power fridges etc.

    What natural power sources do I have? There are 2 primary sources that I could use:

    1 – Solar, using solar water heaters mounted on the building roofs to provide warm/hot water in the showers.

    Is there any other practical use that I can make of this solar power?

    2 – Hydro, the resort sits next to a sizeable, fast-flowing river whose depth does vary according to the season, but which never dries up (it always has maybe 3 meters of depth). I’m thinking that there must be ways to harness the huge force of this water, in order to benefit the resort.

    I welcome ideas and suggestions, and questions of course




    The river will provide you with ample power. Bournes in California has developed a power source that floats on the water surface but has a submerged proipeller to generate power from the fast flowing water. Best of all they have developed internal control circuits that synchronize with multiple units in parallel. However I have seen Chinese built submerged turbines that are less expensive but also have less output power.

    The main thing is understanding how that concept works. You do not have to built dams or infra structures that would impeded the normal flow of the river and the design will accomodate considerable rise and fall in water level over the various seasons.

    It sounds like you would prefer a turn key solution rather than a DIY effort. Other than Burnes I do not know of any company at the moment who has the expertise and manpower to handle such a project from start to finish. But ther are probably companies like that around. The only other possible company is involved in building large resorts and marinas complete as a turn key project but normally they are much bigger, in the multi million dollar range and their floating power plants can power entire towns.

    Look at Victron brand chargers because they have universal inputs that can accomodate a wide range of input frequency from variable speed turbines as well as DC up to several hundred volts. While you are at it explore Victron’s website. They illustrate their product use for such things as African safari resorts. Another advantage of Victron is their ability to deliver power in either 50HZ or 60Hz and 3 phase as well as single phase.

    For your hotel loads especially the HVAC you get much better efficiency by driving pumps fans and compressors on 3 phase than single phase.

    Victron provides models for both 230V 50 Hz and 120V 60 hz.

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