How it Works

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The LucidPipe™ Power System (LPS)

Water Origin & Pressure

Water from snow and rainfall fills remote reservoirs, feeding pipelines that move water to the point-of-use. As the water flows downhill, gravity creates pressure in the pipeline that is normally relieved by pressure-reducing valves.

LucidPipe Power System

The LPS can be placed in-line in the pipes of a water transmission network, and can generate electricity from excess pressure in the pipeline, reducing the work done by pressure-reducing valves.

Distribution

The point-of-use for the water is the customers of the water utility. The LucidPipe Power System is “invisible,” that is, it does not affect water delivery.

Technology & Safety

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.

* Conventional hydropower technologies have been adapted for in-pipe applications, but are not suitable for use in water transmission pipelines because they deplete 95% of the pressure and usually require bypass loops.

** In-pipe pressure reduction valve (PRV) replacement technologies extract significant pressure and are not suitable for use in large-diameter water transmission pipes where pressure and flow velocity must be maintained.

Power Output & Water Flow Requirements

18 kW

POWER CAPACITY

24 MGD
(1.0 m3/s)

MINIMUM FLOW REQUIRED

24” (600mm)

50 kW

POWER CAPACITY

61 MGD
(2.7 m3/s)

MINIMUM FLOW REQUIRED

42” (1050mm)

100 kW

POWER CAPACITY

128 MGD
(5.6 m3/s)

MINIMUM FLOW REQUIRED

60” (1500mm)

Power output per LucidPipe Turbine with the current technology. Turbines are placed in series, 4 diameters apart for maximum energy potential. Next generation turbines are expected to produce twice the power output per turbine.

Footprint of Four-turbine Installation for 42” Pipe

Return On Investment

Electricity generated by the LucidPipe Power System can be used behind the meter or sold to energy utilities through power purchase agreements (PPA). The target Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE) is between $0.05 and $0.12 per kilowatt hour, depending on local energy rates and other project financing factors. Target project payback is 10 years.

Advantages of LucidPipe

  • Hydropower that doesn’t harm ecosystems
  • Can generate consistent, predictable energy 24/7
  • No impact on water delivery
  • Turns excess pressure into a revenue stream through power purchase agreements
  • Provides grid-connected or off-grid power
  • Use for distributed electricity, peak-energy and battery charging

Case Studies

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.

Two innovative water utilities have deployed the first generation LucidPipe Power System in their transmission pipelines: Portland Water Bureau and Riverside Public Utilities.

These installations have proven the LucidPipe concept and now serve as models for water agencies around the world to explore the value of in-pipe hydropower.

Portland Water Bureau

Portland, Oregon

  • Under contract with the City of Portland and the Portland Water Bureau (PWB), Lucid Energy installed a 42” four-turbine system as part of a PWB system upgrade. The site came online in January 2015.
  • The LucidPipe system extracts pressure from the pipeline upstream from a flow control valve, which reduces the work required of the valve and will reduce valve wear over time.
  • A 20-year Power Purchase Agreement is in place with Portland General Electric, the local power utility, to purchase the energy generated by the system.
  • The project will help the city meet its Climate Action Plan goals by generating an average of 900 MWh per year, enough electricity to power approximately 100 homes.*

*Or approximately 600 average, electrified homes in China.

Download Case Study

Riverside Public Utilities

Riverside, California

  • Lucid Energy successfully field-piloted three generations of the LucidPipe Power System in a water pipeline at the Western Municipal Water District in Riverside.
  • In October 2011, Riverside Public Utilities (RPU) received the Outstanding Energy Management Award from the California-Nevada Section of the American Water Works Association (AWWA) for its ongoing, in-system study of the LucidPipe Power System.
  • In January 2012 Lucid Energy completed the first commercial installation of a single-turbine, 42” LucidPipe System at RPU.
  • The system in Riverside operated for more than four years, providing power for streetlights at night and water agency operations during the day, and now serves as an ongoing test bed for development of the second generation LucidPipe turbine.
Download Case Study

Is The LucidPipe Power System right for you?

The LucidPipe Power System is designed for use by water utilities that have:

  • Gravity-fed water delivery pipelines
  • Large (24” to 60” diameter) pipes with flow and pressure matched to turbine size
  • Excess pressure available to be removed
  • Planned pipeline repair or installation, or above-ground location
  • Grid connection for sale of electricity through power purchase agreements, or
  • Off-grid connection for behind-the-meter use, distributed energy, battery charging
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