Pipe with turbine inside
Screenshot from Lucid Energy video.

To reach your tap, water flows through a network of pipes. One company is using the pressure in those pipes to create energy.

Bergan French: “We take the excess pressure that would otherwise be thrown away, and we convert it into electricity.”

That’s Nina Bergan French, CEO of Lucid Energy. Her company installs turbines inside gravity-fed water pipes. They provide energy without interrupting service.

Bergan French: “It’s a whole pipe system with one or more turbines in it, with a generator sitting outside the pipe, connected to either the grid or a battery backup.”

Unlike most hydropower, the system does not pose risks to wildlife or its habitat. And unlike solar and wind …

Bergan French: “This technology works 24/7. If the water is flowing, we’re making electricity. It’s not dependent on day and night. It’s not dependent on the weather.”

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A pilot project in California powers street lights. And another in Oregon makes enough electricity to power about 100 homes.

French says the company is working on making the turbines more efficient. She expects that they will have a commercially viable product ready for testing by the end of the year. The goal is to provide a source of renewable energy that can be easily integrated as cities upgrade their water pipes.

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.

Erika Street Hopman

Erika Street Hopman is co-founder of ChavoBart Digital Media (CBDM), an audio and video production firm with a focus on scientific and environmental media. CBDM contributes original reporting, audio production,...