The power of pooping: How flushing our toilets can power an entire city
In portland, Oregon a company called Lucid Energy has created something they call “toilet turbines”, a source of renewable energy that is quite intuitive. By installing turbines into water pipes where water is running downhill, they utilize water pressure and gravity to power the turbines as water pushes past it.
Gregg Semier, CEO of Lucid Energy, invented the toilet turbine and was able to convince Portland, Oregon to try it out. Apparently the small pilot program was a success, as the power generated by the turbines quickly paid for the project itself.
Portland is the first in the world to grab hydroelectric energy from residential toilets, putting or waste to good use in new and interesting ways. This pilot program is said to be generating enough power to power roughly 150 homes.
From the Lucid Energy website:
The LucidPipeTM Power System generates environmentally-friendly hydropower with no impact on water delivery. Unique, spherical turbines are installed inside large-diameter (24” – 60”) gravity-fed water transmission pipelines. The turbines spin as water passes through them, converting excess head pressure into electricity. Multiple turbines can be mounted in series, one after the other, to maximize energy output.
Unlike conventional hydropower* and in-pipe PRV replacement** technologies, the LucidPipe Power System does not inhibit water delivery and operates in a wide range of pipe diameters and pressure/flows.
For a better look at how the pipes generate hydroelectricity, check out this video by Planet Forward:
Cool huh? One problem. The new technology is expensive, and even more costly to retro fit. The way technology advances though we are hopeful that new construction projects may adopt and implement this wonderful technology.
Water agencies today face increasing financial challenges. The high cost of energy, coupled with energy efficiency mandates and the need to repair or replace aging infrastructure all require creative solutions to keep operations sustainable.
By using their water pipelines to generate renewable energy from an otherwise untapped energy source, the LucidPipe Power System can be part of the solution. Pipeline repairs and installations provide opportunities to deploy LucidPipe on a wide scale, producing megawatts of renewable energy nationwide.