Portland powers city by flushing toilets

Hydro-electric turbines have been installed in one of the main water pipelines in Portland, Oregon, utilizing the water pressure to produce electricity.

The turbines work where water is flowing downhill, and are already recouping some of the energy cost in keeping the water system running.  When fully in place, these pipe generators can power hundreds of thousands of homes.

Gregg Semler, CEO of Lucid Energy, followed his dream of “helping water become more sustainable” by developing this smart piping system.

Lucid Energy’s system isn’t affected by the sort of external conditions (namely: the weather) upon which other renewable energy sources–like solar and wind power– are reliant. Nor does the technology, completely ensconced within a pipe, have adverse effects on a surrounding environmental ecosystem, as an exposed hydroelectric dam might.

The system does more than simply provide electricity: It can monitor both the overall condition of a city’s water supply network as well as assess the drinking quality of the water flowing through it.

Once fully operational, the installation is expected to generate $2,000,000 worth of renewable energy capacity over twenty years, based on “an average of 1,100 megawatt hours of energy per year, enough electricity to power up to 150 homes.” The money generated will be split among the project’s investors, as well as will be used to recoup the cost of construction, and ongoing upkeep of the system. After 20 years the Portland Water Bureau will have the right to own the entire project and all subsequent energy and profit generated by it.

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