Imagine producing cheap hydropower without having to build a dam or threaten migrating salmon. Portland startup LucidEnergy has developed a way to do it inside a water pipe, reports Steve Law at the Portland Tribune. Lucid has developed a simple five-blade turbine built inside a segment of water pipe that can be installed when a utility replaces a stretch of aging or leaking pipes. A string of four turbines on a stretch of pipe carrying water downhill might produce enough electricity to power 100 homes, says Gregg Semler, Lucid president and chief executive officer. The payback on the cost of building and installing the system — without any government subsidies — “is about three to four times better” than solar or wind installations, Semler says. Inside a pipe, he says, “We control the conditions and there would be no environmental impact.” It generates electricity almost around the clock. Lucid is still proving its technology works, and trying to convince utilities it won’t cause problems or reduce water pressure at the customer’s tap. In April, the company opened its inaugural public demonstration project at Riverside Public Utilities in Southern California.
Making green power inside a water pipe
Published on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 | Written by Steve Law