Portland’s energy-rich pipe dream22 October 2015
The USA city of Portland is installing a new system that generates electricity through water taps and flushing toilets.
In Portland, Oregan USA, they’re flush with pride. The city is installing clever new underground pipes that generate electricity every time residents turn on a tap or flush the toilet.
The system, created by Portland-based Lucid Energy, uses small turbines within the pipes that carry the city’s fresh water and generate electricity as water flows through the pipes.
The benefits of the system are that it doesn’t depend on the weather, like wind or solar power, and it generates electricity during peak usage hours. The city can decide whether to use the electricity, or sell it back to the grid.
There’s no environmental damage, as with dams, and sensors in the pipes also deliver useful information on water pressure and quality.
The one drawback is that the system doesn’t work everywhere. It works only where the water flows downhill naturally with gravity.
But the City of Portland is happy. It’s installing the clever new pipes as old pipes need replacing. In return it gets accolades for being green and extra revenue, to boot.