Its core is an innovative, hydrodynamic turbine
Driven by the demand for reliable and cost-effective electricity, the company Lucid Energy has launched LucidPipe, an in-pipe hydropower system to create energy from (typical) water flow. As water passes through the gravity-fed water pipelines and effluent streams, a turbine placed in their interior spins and generates renewable electricity, without disrupting water delivery. The system is very reliant and not affected by external conditions like other renewable energy sources are.
The unique lift-based vertical axis spherical hydrodynamic turbine has been carefully designed and lab tested to maximize efficiency and power generation while limiting the onset of cavitation. Due to its design, the system can operate across a very wide range of flow conditions, volumes and velocities. In low-flow conditions though, LucidPipe can be deactivated, virtually having no impact on pipeline efficiency. LucidPipe extracts very little head pressure per turbine, often 1-5 PSI, a characteristic that allows it to be placed in series and not necessarily in a pressure transient zone, and extreme differential pressures are not needed either. It can also be configured to efficiently generate electricity within a wide range of pipe diameters, ranging from 24 â€“ 96 inches.
The amount of electricity generated is a function of the rate of flow and the pressure inside the transmission pipe. For example, in a standard 60-inch-diameter pipeline, with flow velocity of seven feet per second and 92.3 ft of head (40 psi) of excess head pressure, a single LucidPipe unit could produce up to 100kW of power while extracting about 11.5 ft of head (5 PSI) from the system. In case more energy is needed, multiple turbines can be rapidly and easily added into a single pipeline. The turbines can be deployed with a distance equal to 3-4 times the pipeâ€™s diameter between, so up to 4 LucidPipe units can be installed in a standard 40-ft section of pipe, meaning that one mile of 42â€ diameter pipeline could produce as much as 3MW or more of electricity.
LucidPipe arrives mounted inside a pipe section, which is installed directly into the water transmission pipeline in a day and can be grid-connected within a week.
Since 2011, the company has completed three pilots and two full size commercial installations of the LucidPipe Power System.
It was in Riverside, CA where the system was tested on the field, in a water pipeline at the Western Municipal Water District. For this ongoing in-system study, Riverside Public Utilities (RPU) received in October 2011 the Outstanding Energy Management Award from the California-Nevada Section of the American Water Works Association (AWWA).
In January 2012, the first commercial installation of a single-turbine LucidPipe Power System at RPU took place, and this continues to provide renewable energy, powering streetlights at night and water agency operations during the day.
The company's second major project was in January 2015 in Portland, Oregon. There, in collaboration with the Portland Water Bureau (PWB), a section of the city's existing water supply network was replaced with Lucid Energy pipes containing four forty-two inch turbines. The 200 kW system was installed in a section of gravity-fed pipelines just upstream from a pressure reducing valve (PRV). The turbines convert approximately 20psi (5psi per turbine) of head pressure into electricity, which is then purchased by Portland General Electric. The system is expected to generate an average of 1,100 MWh of energy per year, enough to power up to 150 homes.
Source: Lucid Energy