Category Archives: Hydroelectric

Generating electricity from water flowing through pipes

Think how much electricity could be generated if all of the kinetic energy of water running through pipes could be converted to electricity.  It boggles the mind – and someone is doing something about it.  Lucid Energy has developed an “in pipe” hydropower system designed to generate millions of megawatt hours of renewable electricity from the water already flowing through pipelines without interrupting flow.

According to their data sheet – “LucidPipe can operate across a wide range of flow conditions, volumes and velocities. The unique lift-based vertical axis spherical turbine design of LucidPipe generates electricity by extracting excess head pressure from large diameter (24”-96”), gravity-fed water pipelines and effluent streams. To maximize electricity generation, several LucidPipe systems can be rapidly and easily installed into a single pipeline, enabling operations to continue normally.

“The amount of electricity generated is a function of the rate of flow and the pressure inside the transmission pipe. For example, in a standard 60-inch-diameter pipeline, with flow velocity of seven feet per second and 12 feet of excess head pressure, a single LucidPipe unit can produce up to 100kW of power while extracting less than 1 PSI from the system. Adding multiple turbines in a pipeline with these characteristics has the potential to generate billions of megawatts of renewable energy without environmental impact.

Because this system doesn’t disrupt the flow of water or require a dam, multiple units can be installed, one after another, along the entire pipeline.  So the amount of electricity generated from a flow of water is dependent upon how many LucidPipe systems are installed.

Installing a personal water wheel for personal hydroelectric power

We have a canal running by our house, with a great flow of water in it nearly the entire year.  Just a guess, but it probably runs pasta couple hundred houses from its origin in the southern French Alps to the Mediterranean Sea. So it  seemed to me that this could be a great source of electricity, especially for those who already have solar panels so that could be augmented – two sustainables are better than one!

ImageSo I started doing some research for a product I was sure there would be hundreds of – I mean, they teach you how to make a water wheel to light a bulb in junior high school.  I couldn’t find ANY commercially available water wheels that I’d call “personal”.  By Personal, I mean that you could order online pay under $1000, and start generating electricity in a few days.

I did find this one, that can be put in a river, but it’s quite large and designed to be a power source for a town, not a single home.  It’s made by Practical Action, and you can read more about it in a  technical paper.

So, please readers, if you know of any personal water wheels available (or you want to make it rich by developing one), please let me know!!