Harnessing Hydropower from Urban Water Pipes

(1) Problem

Category is Energy. Most conventional power generation results in environmental damage (e.g., CO2 emissions), including conventional hydro power because it disrupts ecosystems.

(2) Summary

  • Ludic Energy in Portland, Oregon developed a hydroelectric turbine for installation in existing water lines
  • Uses gravity flow in existing pipes — energy that is otherwise wasted — without disrupting or harming potable water supply
  • No impact to ecosystem; no CO2 emissions or waste generation during operation

Gewin, V. 2015. Harnessing Hydropower from Urban Water Pipes: Gregg Semler Turns Tiny Turbines Into Mighty Generators. Popular Science. Posted May 19, 2015.



(3) Stakeholders

  • Civic energy management leaders to champion initiative
  • Existing utility companies for water and electricity to facilitate integration
  • Contractors and/ or vendors to install and manage system
  • Residential and/ or commercial customers to receive and use electricity

4) Deployment

  • Create partnership between technology owner, water utility, power utility, and lending institutions to share costs and revenues
  • Identify existing water lines that need repair
  • Install technology during repair cycle to help offset costs

    Lucid Energy's hydroelectric turbines deployed in municipal water line
    Lucid Energy’s hydroelectric turbines deployed in municipal water line

2 thoughts on “Harnessing Hydropower from Urban Water Pipes

  1. Lucid Energy’s turbines can be installed in pipelines used for municipal drinking water, industry, irrigation, and wastewater.


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