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Lucid Streaming

Posted by: Annika Darling @ March 2, 2015, 12:57 p.m.

Leave it to Portland to generate electricity by simply turning on the faucet and flushing the toilet. If there is a way to generate green electricity with very little impact, Portland will find it. This water system promises to not even impact fish or endangered species. Could it be any more environmentally responsible?

According to Fast Company the system captures energy from the water flowing through the city’s pipelines. To do this small turbines are installed in the pipelines and are turned by the water flow. In turn, energy is sent to a generator and then sent to the power grid.

“It’s pretty rare to find a new source of energy where there’s no environmental impact,” Gregg Semler told Fast Company. Semler is the chief executive officer of Lucid Energy, the Portland start-up behind the new system. “But this is inside a pipe, so no fish or endangered species are impacted. That’s what’s exciting.”

The water power system is incredible but still in its infancy and it has its limitations. For instance, Lucid’s system can’t produce enough energy to generate the the whole city, rather one building at a time: like a school or library. Also, in order for the system to work it relies on gravity. The water must be flowing downward. However, unlike solar and wind converted energy, water energy can be produced at any time of day.

“We have a project in Riverside, California, where they’re using it to power streetlights at night,” Semler notes. “During the day, when electricity prices are high, they can use it to offset some of their operating costs.”

Lucid’s pipes contain sensors that can monitor the quality of the water flowing through the pipes, making them more than just a power generating technology, which can be valuable just about anywhere.



Read more: Portland's water pipes are the newest source of clean energy | Inhabitat - Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building

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