Turning Water Pipes into Electric Generators

Most of us don’t think about where our water comes from or how it gets there. We just turn on the tap and expect it to be there.

Lucid Energy CEO Greg Semler, is interested in changing the way we think about our drinking water, specifically in terms of hydroelectricity. With the help of innovators at Lucid Energy, your tap water may soon be able to power your house.

The startup plans to place small turbines inside existing as well as new water pipes to capture the energy from water already flowing to your home, business and under your streets and convert it to electricity. With energy being the critical component, which drives the cost of delivering and purifying water, Lucid Energy could help offset a city’s costs without damaging the environment.

The company has installed a pipe along with four turbines in its home city of Portland, Oregon. Lucid Energy and its investors are funding the project and will share a small percentage of revenue with the city. As for consumers, Portland’s Water Bureau Administrator plans to pass on any of the city’s savings to its residents, but does not anticipate a noticeable difference.

So just how much energy are we talking about? On a small scale, one turbine could generate enough electricity to power about 50 homes. On a larger scale, if the turbines were installed in every major city across the country, Semler envisions Lucid Energy as a new way of “giving power to the people.” 

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