Portland, Oregon has unveiled a new project for 2015: turning water into electricity. This is not uncommon and hydroelectricity is not a new concept, but Portland has done something very unique.
They have created a new system that generates electricity inside a stretch of the city pipeline.
The system would be extremely difficult to set up above ground, but inside pipes, all a city has to do is replace their aging infrastructure.
It’s only the second of it’s kind (the other being a smaller version, installed in Riverside, California in 2012).
The infrastructure comes from a partnership between the Portland Water Bureau and local startup Lucid Energy.
Lucid hopes to set up similar services in other communities across the United States but are still facing some challenges.
Next City reports:
“In many Midwestern municipalities, massive pumps push water across vast, flat terrains, so Lucid Energy’s gravity-fed technology wouldn’t work. But some East Coast towns and cities could be likely candidates.
Semler’s optimistic about the current federal push for infrastructure upgrades, though so far presidentially sanctioned and funded campaigns have focused on roads, bridges, and transit — not water.
But the country’s pipes are aging (leaking enough to drown Manhattan and Chicago every year), and he sees potential replacement efforts as an opportunity to sub in the new pipes.
“We believe that, if we can survive long enough, we’ll be a part of rebuilding America’s water infrastructure,” he says.”
Could combining energy production with water infrastructure be a good way to rebuild aging pipelines for a manageable future or is it too complicated?
Portland will test the waters (excuse the pun) of this kind of technology and find out.
Inframanage.com notes that it will be interesting to observe the results of this trial – in terms of cost and return of investment from revenue generated, but also any impacts on water supply level of service delivery, and the future maintainability of this system.
PHOTO CREDIT: Portland OR Skyline – Hawthorne Bridge by Nathan