Thursday, May 03, 2007

Storm Water Power Generation

Here's a novel idea to generate some more electricity.
Why not build reservoirs to hold water from storm drains and use it for hydro power. Sure this only works when it rains so rainy climates would benefit more. Flat areas would also not work as well because you need greater elevation drops to generate more electricity. Turbines could also be attached where a city's storm water dumps into a large ditch or river.
I have no idea whether this is feasible both from a cost perspective and an engineering one. Would the returns be worth it? Can hydro power turbines take the punishment of periodic operation while being dry the rest of the time? I don't know either of the answers. Perhaps you the reader can help. Please comment.

1 comment:

Dave Nyenhuis said...

I also had this idea. I am an engineering student in Grand Rapids, MI. I am thinking it through about whether it would be feasible. Typical hydro-electric power uses high pressure (from a deep reservoir/tall dam) to drive turbines. Stormwater systems (in urban/developed places) are usually designed for open channel flow - meaning the pipes are not flowing full and thus there is typically no pressure build up. So the power generation unit/system would have to be geared to get its power from high velocity, high volume flow of water.

Do you have any thoughts?