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Watertower Pumped Hydro

Capture energy of water flowing OUT of water towers
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Pumped storage hydroelectricity is a type of hydroelectric power generation used by some power plants for load balancing. The method stores energy in the form of water, pumped from a lower elevation reservoir to a higher elevation. Low-cost off-peak electric power is used to run the pumps. During periods of high electrical demand, the stored water is released through turbines.

All the water flowing OUT of water towers could be producing electricity with turbines. That would be a tremendous energy gain for the grid.

bumbleparte, Apr 23 2010

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       How much energy can you store in a typical water tower?
phoenix, Apr 23 2010
  

       I would think if towns didn't need the extra pressure, they would just build a water tank. The "tower" part is probably just to guarantee that there is still 40psi (sorry, I have no idea what the metric conversion or what European water pressure is). If you run pumps, you will be dropping that pressure and requiring higher water towers.   

       I'm withholding final judgment for now, but I don't think this is "free" energy.
MisterQED, Apr 23 2010
  

       The water flowing out of towers has only as much energy as is needed to get it distributed around town at useful pressure. The towers are as low as can be, there is no energy to spare.   

       Do you really think that engineers are so stupid as to build the towers taller than they need to be, and to have never thought of this idea?   

       There's a stubby water tower in one part of this town that stands on a little hill and that only serves the area near it. From certain angles, it looks really short and cute compared to the gangly towers elsewhere.
baconbrain, Apr 23 2010
  

       Could we just pause for a moment and say "Welcome to the HB"? Just as a, you know, nicety?   

       Thanks.   

       Now, to the idea: it sucks. Your next one's much better.
MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 23 2010
  

       [+] just to balance the morons a bit.   

       The drop from a water tower has nothing to do with the immediate ground it's standing on: it's to do with the destination.   

       Now picture if you will (and I know this is difficult in some cases) that the distribution area includes those rare features known as (watch out: technical terms coming up...) "hills" and "valleys".
FlyingToaster, Apr 24 2010
  

       You'd really have to wonder where this "free energy" was going? If a lot of energy was being wasted it would have to be going someplace.
WcW, Apr 24 2010
  

       Oh, [MB] you crack me up! welcome bumble!
po, Apr 24 2010
  

       Perhaps this could be made to work in New York City, where the water pressure's supplied by gravity. Unfortunately, only with a water tower less than 6 stories tall.   

       Imagine a water tank on the roof of a (5-story) building in a business district, where demand is low on weekends. On weekends, water drains out of the tower through a turbine. On week days, the mains supply sufficient volume and pressure for the building's needs, plus, some fraction of the time, enough extra to refill the tank, incrementally over 5 days.   

       Backup power for a server farm or telecom switching center, maybe.   

       The energy is hydroelectric, i.e. the head comes from the difference in elevation between Manhattan (say), and the Catskills. The difference between this system and a hydroelectric plant at the Croton Reservoir (say), is that this gives very fine-grained control over where & when pressure is sapped from the system, so the system's primary function (delivering water) isn't compromised, and only excess capacity's used for power generation.
mouseposture, Apr 24 2010
  
      
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