How Joburg’s energy-from-water-pipes will work

The City of Johannesburg plans to generate electricity from its water pipe system using in-pipe turbines – here is how it will work.

Water pipe electricity

City of Johannesburg mayor Parks Tau announced in his 2015 State of the City address that Joburg will harness energy from water flowing through its citywide pipe system using in-pipe turbines.

Electricity using water pipes made headlines earlier this year after a 200kW system installed in a water pipeline in Oregon came online.

The system in Oregon uses the LucidPipe Power System – which works by taking conventional water pipes and replacing them with Lucid Energy’s pipes. The new pipes are fitted with turbines, and as water passes through the pipes the turbines spin and generate electricity.

“As velocities increase, power production increases. Due to the lift-based design of the LucidPipe turbine, the system generates power across a very wide range of velocities,” said Lucid Power.

The company said the design of the turbine does not interrupt water flow and allows for power generation at low pressure levels.

“One mile of 42-inch diameter pipeline could produce as much as 3 megawatts or more of electricity.”

How it works

The LucidPipe Power System uses the flow of water inside a water pipeline to spin turbines that produce electricity.

The hydrodynamic turbine is designed to maximize efficiency and power generation while limiting the onset of cavitation. As velocities increase, power production increases.

LucidPipe Power System illustration

LucidPipe Power System

Due to the lift-based design of the LucidPipe turbine, the system generates power across a wide range of velocities.

LucidPipe extracts very little head pressure per turbine, often 1-5 PSI. This feature allows the modular LucidPipe system to be placed in series, while allowing for uninterrupted water flow.

Water pipe alternate

Water pipe alternate

LucidPipe does not need to be placed in a pressure transient zone or where extreme differential pressures are needed.

Many in-conduit hydropower systems are designed to replace pressure reduction valves in small-diameter pipelines 16 inches or less. LucidPipe works in conjunction with valves in large-diameter pipelines ranging from 24 – 96 inches.

LucidPipe Power System

LucidPipe Power System

Power pipe

Power pipe

LucidPipe Power System installed

LucidPipe Power System installed

Using LucidPipe and valves together increases the life of valves, while simultaneously reducing energy costs.

LucidPipe is designed to minimize any impact on water operations.

LucidPipe arrives mounted inside a pipe section. The pipe section is installed directly into the water transmission pipeline in a day and grid connected within a week.

Lucid Energy

Lucid Energy

Inside water pipe

Inside water pipe

LucidPipe can be placed throughout a pipeline system in series without disrupting water delivery. In low-flow conditions, LucidPipe can be deactivated and have virtually no impact on pipeline efficiency.

The video below gives an overview of how the system works, and what the advantages are.

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