The most effective way to harvest renewable energy is to acquire it from existing sources without too much disruption to the current infrastructure. We have already seen schemes in London and New York which transform waste products — including sewer fat , organic food waste and excess heat from the London Underground — into green energy.
Working to the same principal, Lucid Energy in Portland, Oregon have developed the LucidPipe, which is able to harvest low-cost renewable energy from the water flowing through the city’s pipes.
Each piece of LucidPiping contains three small turbines which spin in the flowing water. The turbines connect to a generator on top of the pipe, producing hydroelectric power, which can drastically reduce the cost for the water utilities or be filtered back into the city.
People have been harnessing the power of water for hundreds of years — most recently through dams, which produce green hydroelectricity but also have massive negative environmental effects. Lucid Energy’s system is a rare coup, in that it has no environmental impact and could be integrated into cities’ existing pipelines throughout the world. In Portland, one of the city’s major drinking water pipelines has been upgraded to LucidPiping — the resulting electricity can now power large buildings or offset the city’s energy bill.
The pipes can be installed in any system where water flows downward naturally with gravity. It is a viable, green option for any infrastructure that already has a vast amount of water flowing through its operations. These could include municipalities, industrial manufacturers and wastewater treatment plants, where benefits would also be gained from the pipe’s inbuilt sensors, designed to monitor water pressure and identify potential problems.
While many companies are developing solutions for individual consumers, the most productive green energy schemes will be those which win the support of local governments and can impact the energy usage of entire cities. Where should Lucid Energy take their product next?