If you live in Portland, your lights may now be partly powered by your drinking water. An ingenious new system captures energy as water flows through the city’s pipes, creating hydropower without the negative environmental effects of something like a dam.
Small turbines in the pipes spin in the flowing water, and send that energy into a generator.
Though the system can’t generate enough energy for an entire city, the pipes can power individual buildings like a school or library, or help offset a city’s total energy bill. Unlike wind or solar power, the system can generate electricity at any time of day, regardless of weather, since the pipes always have water flowing through them.
The pipes can’t generate power in every location; they only work in places where water is naturally flowing downward with gravity (if water is being pumped, the system would waste energy).
Via Fast Company.