Hydro power system generates energy using underground pipes


The LucidPipe Power System uses similar a similar model to hydroelectric dams without the environmental concerns. (Lucid Energy)
The LucidPipe Power System generates energy similarly to hydroelectric dams without affecting fish migration patterns or causing other environmental concerns. (Lucid Energy)

Nick Fetty | February 26, 2015

While wind turbines dot the landscape in Iowa and other places around the world, an innovative new system of underground turbines could be the next big thing in energy technology.

Parts of Portland, Oregon recently installed the LucidPipe Power System which uses hydroeletric turbines to generate energy through the city’s network of water pipes. This system allows energy to be generated every time someone turns on a faucet or flushes a toilet, however it only works “in places where water is naturally flowing downward with gravity (if water is being pumped, the system would waste energy).” The system is expected to generate 1,100 megawatt hours of energy each year which is enough to power roughly 150 homes. This is expected to translate to $2 million worth of renewable energy capacity over a 20-year span.

“Different from traditional renewable energy systems, like solar and wind, it’s really not dependent on the weather. It’s not dependent upon the sun shining or the wind blowing to produce electricity,” Lucid Energy President and CEO Gregg Semler said in an interview. “What LucidPipe is doing is we’re taking the best of hydro – low cost, base load – and we’re doing it with no environmental impact.”

A similar system has existed in Riverside, California since 2011 and another project has been planned for Texas. Officials with Lucid Energy hope the network will eventually expand and become worldwide.

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