SAN ANTONIO — San Antonio Water System (SAWS) agreed to terms with Lucid Energy to build the first demonstration site of the LucidPipe Power System in Texas. The LucidPipe Power System is a water-to-wire system that produces clean, low-cost renewable energy from fast-moving water inside of large-scale municipal, agricultural, and industrial water pipelines and effluent streams.
The SAWS installation, which is slated for construction in early 2013, will provide a demonstration site around which Lucid Energy will bring together prospective customers, partners, academics and other industry leaders in the water and energy sectors to learn about in-pipe hydropower.
The new 60-kilowatt in-pipe hydropower system will include three LucidPipe spherical turbines inside of one section of 24-inch steel water pipe at SAWS. The LucidPipe installation at SAWS will be part of the Regional Carrizo Water Supply Project that will deliver up to 17,200 acre-feet of water per year from the Carrizo Aquifer to the city of San Antonio.
“We are very pleased to be one of the first water utilities in the U.S. to evaluate in-pipe hydropower using the LucidPipe technology,” said Steve Clouse, Chief Operating Officer & Senior Vice President of San Antonio Water System. “Utilizing our water infrastructure to generate renewable energy fits our philosophy of environmentally smart solutions because it taps an existing resource — water moving through our pipelines — to provide low-impact, low-cost, renewable energy.”
The LucidPipe Power System, which was developed in conjunction with Northwest Pipe Company, utilizes a patented, spherical, vertical axis turbine that recovers otherwise untapped energy in the form of excess head pressure in large, gravity-fed pipelines. One or more turbines can be installed inside sections of large-diameter (24-inch – 96-inch) steel water pipe to produce clean, reliable, low-cost electricity without affecting operations.
LucidPipe operates across a wide range of flow conditions, volumes and velocities with no interruption of water flow. In addition to generating baseload renewable energy, the system can also be used to help manage pressure and reduce wear on water infrastructure. The system is environmentally friendly because it operates inside of pipelines, and, unlike many other renewable energy sources, the energy output from LucidPipe is not subject to weather conditions.
“San Antonio is one of the most forward-thinking cities in the country when it comes to smart water and energy development,” said Gregg Semler, president and CEO of Lucid Energy Inc. “We are looking forward to working with the team at San Antonio Water System and we anticipate that the LucidPipe installation will draw interest from academic and industry leaders worldwide who are interested in learning about the vast potential for in-pipe hydropower as a solution for water and energy security.”
In 2009 the U.S. Department of Energy awarded Lucid Energy a $1 million phase 1 SBIR grant to field test the LucidPipe Power System. Riverside Public Utilities in California, where the technology was piloted in three phases over two years, is currently operating the first commercial installation of the system, which has been operational since January 2012.
Lucid Energy is working with innovative water utilities, academics and industry partners like CH2M Hill, Siemens, Honeywell and Johnson Controls to develop demonstration sites that will become Centers of Excellence for in-pipe hydropower in other parts of North America.