YEAR: December 2014
TYPE OF SYSTEM: Hydro-Electric
275 mwH per year

SCALE: Neighborhood Scale
 Data collection for flow rate, water temperature and water quality, modular design and variety of sizes


The LucidPipe Power System is a “water-to-wire” energy system that enables users to produce electricity from water pipelines and effluent streams. Each LucidPipe turbine produces up to 100 kilowatts of electricity by extracting head pressure from inside of pipelines and does not interrupt flow. [1]


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Our case study is in Portland OR, where four-200Kw Lucid Pipes were installed in a Portland Water Bureau Pipe beneath a residential street: SE 147th Avenue and Powell Boulevard. The system began generating electricity during system testing in late December 2014 and was expected to begin full capacity power generation by March 2015. [2]

Type of System and Scale

The system’s modular design creates flexibility, so the system can theoretically work across a large variety of scales. More generally, however, the LucidPipe Power System is designed for use in large-diameter (24”-96”) water pipes for maximum efficiency and energy output. The renewable energy produced can be used off grid, fed back into the grid or used to directly power devices and equipment. [1]


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Water velocity is central to determining the energy generating capacity of a pipeline. The system works best with velocities greater than 4 feet per second (typical water velocities in pipelines are 4-7 feet per second (1.7-2.1 m/s)). Often the diameter of the pipeline where a LucidPipe system is installed will be reduced, increasing water velocity through the turbine for increased energy output. [1]


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System Description

The LucidPipe Power System harnesses the kinetic energy of water using a turbine system. A turbine is a type of electromagnetic power generator that creates energy by seamlessly integrating mechanical and electrical principles with one another for external use [3]. Water turbines have been used historically to collect energy as seen in the water wheels [4] that powered industrial mills, and conventional dams that employ hydropower-most notably, the Robert Moses Niagra Power Plant [5].

The difference between a traditional turbine and this system is its placement within stormwater pipes. This is a modular pipe component that is fixed with the turbine that can be attached to existing standard pipe valves. By hooking into the water utility system the product adds the advantage of a constant controllable input with none of the negative environmental impacts.

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System Diagram by Ashley Cox

Annual Energy Production (kWh/yr) + Urban Area Served

This is a 200 kW nameplate capacity project. The system is expected to generate an average of 1,100 megawatt hours of energy per year, enough electricity to power up to 150 homes. [7]

Other Benefits

Enables the collection of real-time water data for inclusion in smart grid information systems (eg: flow rate, water temperature

Reduces pressure of flow if placed upstream. Allowing for an extended service life

Supplements energy supply for powered devices through SCADA and smart grid systems

Qualifies for investment tax credits



Rotor The rotating part of an electrical machine

Stator The stationary part of an electrical machine


Armature The power-producing component of an electrical machine. In a generator, alternator, or dynamo the armature windings generate the electric current. The armature can be on either the rotor or the stator.

Field The magnetic field component of an electrical machine. The magnetic field of the dynamo or alternator can be provided by either electromagnets or permanent magnets mounted on either the rotor or the stator.

Nameplate capacity is the number registered with authorities for classifying the power output of a power station usually expressed in megawatts (MW). Power plants with an output consistently near their nameplate capacity have a high capacity factor. [6]


The project is being done at no cost to the City of Portland or to the Portland Water Bureau— it has been funded entirely through private investment. It was fully financed in October 2014 with capital from Harbourton Alternative Energy. Electricity generated by the project will be sold to PGE through a 20-year power purchase agreement, and after these 20 years PWB will have the right to own the system. The project is projected to generate approximately $2 million worth of renewable energy capacity over the PPA period that is used to pay for the development, installation and ongoing operational costs. [2]

Policies and Resources in Place

The project supports the Portland Water Bureau’s objective of reducing the cost of delivering safe, clean drinking water to the citizens of Portland and supports the City of Portland’s Climate Action Plan goals and its plan to identify and collect new sources of revenue. It is currently a standalone installation but if it is successful, other installations will be considered. [2]

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