Hydropower From City Water Lines
Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 14, 2015
This system, currently being used in Riverside, California, and Portland, Oregon, is a brilliantly good idea:
Gregg Semler, president and CEO of LucidEnergy, said his team originally went into the business of hydropower by looking at ways to capture energy from streams. But they soon realized that it was difficult to predict the flow of a stream, and that generating hydropower could be environmentally degrading. Pipes, on the other hand, are existing-man made infrastructure, so equipping them to be power producers doesn’t present any environmental concerns. They also pump water daily at a fairly constant rate, which allows for a consistent flow of energy.
“What’s really interesting about Lucid is this is a new source of energy that’s never really been tapped into before,” Semler said. “You take the best of hydroelectricity and put it in the pipe.”
Riverside’s small-scale pilot project is working so well that the city uses it to power its streetlights. Portland’s project is a bit bigger: four turbines in fifty feet of pipe produce enough power to run 150 homes.
The system can’t work in all pipes, as it relies on gravity to work. But it can work in enough situations to be a valued part of a municipal energy infrastructure.
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