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Hydropower from Gutters: Generating Electricity from Rainwater

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2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Minneapolis, MN

Publication Date

August 23, 2022

Start Date

June 26, 2022

End Date

June 29, 2022

Conference Session

Engineering Physics and Physics Division Technical Session 3

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Paper Authors


Bala Maheswaran Northeastern University

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Bala Maheswaran is currently a senior faculty in the College of Engineering, Northeastern University. He has contributed and authored over one hundred publications consisting of original research and education-related papers, and conference proceedings. He has over twenty years of experience in teaching at Northeastern University. He is the Chair of the Engineering Physics Division, ASEE, Chair and executive board member, ASEE NE Section; the co-chair of TASME Conference (Technological Advances in Science, Medicine and Engineering, Toronto, Canada), Academic Member and the Unit Head, Electrical Engineering, ATINER (Athens Institute for Education and Research, Athens, Greece).

A charismatic educator, Dr. Maheswaran has received several awards including the Northeastern University first-year Engineering Outstanding Teaching Award twice, the ASEE-Northeast Section Outstanding Teaching Award, the ASEE Division Distinguished Educator and Service Award. He was also the nominee for the ASEE National Outstanding Teaching Medal and nominated to be the ASEE Fellow. Honoring his outstanding contribution, the TASME presented an award in his name at the 24th year award ceremony: “Dr. Bala Maheswaran Junior Faculty Award 2020 for Excellence in Science Education”, and awarded him the Life Time Achievement Award in 2021.

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Andrew Bard Northeastern University


Andrew Sozio Northeastern University

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Incoming second year mechanical engineering student at Northeastern University

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Samuel Haggans Northeastern University


Nicholas Tarallo Northeastern University

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Undergraduate student at Northeastern College of Engineering studying Computer Engineering and Computer Science

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Timothy Bennett Northeastern University

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Abstract As Earth faces the dual issues of climate change, caused in large part by the generation of electricity through methods that use fossil fuels, and a growing energy crisis, the world is searching for ways to produce renewable energy utilizing existing infrastructure. The kinetic energy of rainwater falling through gutters is a widely available yet untapped source of energy that could be used to generate electricity. No widely produced devices exist to harness this energy and convert it to electricity or some other useful form of energy. Our team focused on this development gap to create a system capable of generating electricity from this falling water. We sought to create a device that uses a water turbine, similar in principle to a hydroelectric dam, to convert rainwater into electrical energy that could be used to charge a battery or power lights. Our goal was to make this device small, efficient, and easy to install in existing rain gutter systems.

Our design uses a slanted slide to divert the falling water into our turbine, which utilizes a pelton water wheel to ensure peak efficiency. The water wheel is attached to a motor, which is used to generate electricity, and is housed within a box-shaped case. The case connects to the gutter attachment, which is 3D printed in a shape to fit into existing gutter systems. Our device is thus able to convert potential energy from rainwater into electricity and demonstrates a possible application of small scale hydroelectric generators.

Maheswaran, B., & Bard, A., & Sozio, A., & Haggans, S., & Tarallo, N., & Bennett, T. (2022, August), Hydropower from Gutters: Generating Electricity from Rainwater Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN. 10.18260/1-2--40420

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