When water is flowing through pipelines, there is energy that can be harvested. If those pipelines are from large municipal pipelines or industrial manufacturers pumping millions of gallons of water a day, the amount of renewable energy is huge. This is known as “in-pipe hydropower” or “smart water infrastructure”.
At a time when municipal and industrial water managers are seeing increasing challenges in ensuring drinking water is clean and safe, water pipelines that generate profits from the sale of electricity are a stroke of genius.
A company called Lucid Energy has created a new design for large pipes with turbines inside and generators that spin, producing electricity. The company has teamed up with the Portland Water Bureau (PWB) to provide it with in-pipe hydropower, and the technology is now online. Called the LucidPipe Power System, the technology takes advantage of gravity-fed water flow inside a PWB pipeline, turning 42-inch turbines that produce electricity that is routed to Portland General Electric (PGE). The parties have signed a 20-year deal, and it is estimated that the power generated will power more than 150 homes, the equivalent of about $2 million in energy costs.
According to Greg Semler, President & CEO of Lucid Energy, “Water agencies are looking for ways to be more energy efficient, energy utilities are seeking more renewable sources of energy, and investors are seeking opportunities in smart water and energy infrastructure.”
The following video shows Lucid Energy projects and the company’s President & CEO Greg Semler: