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.

waterpower

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.

PipeHydroTurbines

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.

Article Sources:
http://www.engineering.com
http://www.pbs.org

James Spader
 

Comes from a long line of American manufacturers and small business owners. His passions have always been journalism and World War II history. When not working, he enjoys cooking and competing in amateur chess tournaments.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 3 comments
John

If Lucid Pipe can actually make this technology work, I think it could be a watershed moment in our modern history (no pun intended). I love how companies are being innovative and striving to develop new sources of clean energy. Humans need to move away from gas and oil for energy if we are to extend our life on Earth. We don’t want life imitating art as in the plot of the movie, Interstellar.

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Michael

Well they say that water is one of the most powerful forces of nature. After all, the creator used water to destroy the old world and that strategy seemed to wipe out just about every vestige of those ancient civilizations – with the exception of many megalithic pyramids and other monuments throughout the world. All you have to do is look at what a flood does to humans and their structures today.

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Ronald

Water power sources are nothing new. The ancients, particularly the Romans, used water wheels to perpetually power certain processes. What is more surprising to me is that with all our so called advanced intellect, we are only starting to realize that water is a great source of power. This process may be unique in its own way, but it is just a rediscovery of an ancient knowledge.

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