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What is head?

What is head? Head is the height difference between where the water enters the hydro system and where it leaves it

Head is the height difference between where the water enters the hydro system and where it leaves it

What is head? Head is the height difference between where the water enters into the hydro system and where it leaves it, measured in metres. Typically this could be the height of a weir at the turbine entrace or if the site is undeveloped it would be between where the hydro intake screen would be and where the water discharges from the turbine and returns to the watercourse.

With hydropower it is very important to get as much head as you possibly can, as more head means more power (and energy) for not much more cost and therefore higher return on investment. Depending on how much flow you have, the minimum amount of head required for a viable hydro system varies. If you have low head and low flow, then installing a hydro system won’t be very cost effective. Typically a head in excess of 2 metres is the absolute minimum requirement, but more is much better.

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Are you considering a hydropower project in the UK, Ireland or overseas?

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The first step to develop any small or micro hydropower site is to conduct a full feasibility study.

Contact us about a feasibility study today!

Once complete, you will understand the site potential and be guided through the next steps to develop your project. You can read more about hydropower in our Hydro Learning Centre.

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