Submitted by davesailer on Tue, 2013/08/13 - 17:29.
Transforming energy to electricity seems to be the only way to harness water power, but it is not. For almost two thousand years, water wheels powered machines directly via mechanical transmission.
In the past, the [coffee bean] depulping process was restricted to a hand cranked machine, and would take all night to complete. Now, with the help of direct hydropower technologies, the depulping can be completed in two or three hours.
More at: http://www.lowtechmagazine.com/2013/08/direct-hydropower.html#more