Could Our Water And Power Infrastructure Become One In The Same?
There’s a growing need for a water infrastructure update in many parts of the country. There’s also no shortage of demand for clean, renewable energy generation. What if there was a way to address these two issues in a single solution?
Hydroelectric, gravity-fed drinking water pipes may be just that. They’re certainly innovative, but can they go from Portland exclusive model to practical plumbing throughout the U.S.?
Energy Sources Get Wetter
There are sources of hydroelectricity in the United States, but compared to other methods of generating power, water is a mostly untapped resource for energy production. If, however, we broaden our utilization of running water, then special drinking water pipes like those developed by a Portland, OR startup, could be essential powerhouses in environmentally friendly energy generation.
Water Pipes Pumping Out Energy
Lucid Energy engineers have designed a unique hydroelectric system that harnesses energy from gravity-fed pipes that carry drinking water underground. The pipes include turbines, which are connected generators.
As water passes through the turbine, the generator transfers the energy a nearby grid. The current setup generates enough electricity to power well over a hundred homes.
Fortunate State Of Gravity
The key to this type of ecofriendly, impact-free energy generation is due to Oregon’s gravity based water system, which allows for round-the-clock production and virtually no interference with wildlife or the ecosystem. Lucid Energy’s current setup is also considerably less expensive than comparable production from wind turbines and solar panels.
As a result, the development is now getting a lot of new attention and investment for expansion.
Hydroelectricity For A New Age?
But what about areas without Oregon’s unique and fortunate water circumstances? In areas with river ways and tidal activity are present, hydroelectricity is getting renewed attention as a renewable and profitable energy source. It all depends on who can develop the most efficient turbine and generation system to harness natural water forces.
Although Portland has been an ideal starting point for Lucid Energy’s pipe system, it’s not staying put there. Scaled down versions could be used in other areas, closer to homes, and could be used to generate power for smaller energy applications, such as an EV charging station.
As pipe systems need to be updated in more municipalities throughout the United States, should we put greater emphasis on adding energy generation into the process? Could power-generating pipes soon trump the successes of wind turbines and solar panels as the next big clean energy integration? Share your thoughts in this development in the comments.