“Yes, Put This in My Backyard!” Generating Power with Recycled Water

by Brooke Mitchell, Chase Johnson, Chase Caldwell, and Chris Lynn

One of the major issues Americans deal with is conservation of energy and creating new and improved technology to make everyday life easier and less expensive. One method of achieving cheaper and easier energy production is the use of recycled household gray water to turn a hydroelectric turbine. Our idea for this design is to collect gray water from households and run that water through turbines that will create hydroelectricity that in turn powers the house.  Hydroelectric power has been practiced in the past, improved today, and hopefully, will be fully utilized in the future.

There are many types of technology the world uses today to generate energy. One source that I believe we need to utilize more is hydroelectricity. Currently power derived from hydroelectricity represents 24% of total electricity production in the world and 12% in the United States. Hydroelectricity works by harnessing the energy of flowing water. Water is pulled downstream, and then it meets and turns the blades of a hydroelectric turbine. The turbine shaft turns the rotor in the generator and creates electricity the same way other electrical generators do. While large hydroelectric plants that are part of a large dam structures are common, there are others hydroelectric plants that use straight river flow and do not involve dams. Other models that are micro-generators use ordinary streams to generate power.

Some of the benefits of hydroelectricity are: hydroelectricity is a clean, renewable source of energy; there is no fuel, because kinetic energy is converted into electricity by flowing water and no pollution. Hydroelectric sources currently provide roughly 1/5 of the world’s energy. Today there is not a whole lot of use for the gray water in houses, so why not put it to use?

We have designed a fantastic idea to conserve electricity in households and convert that energy into hydroelectric power. The purpose of our design is to develop hydroelectric power into a main source of electricity. By doing so, we will decrease the cost of our electric bill and will conserve large amounts of energy in the vicinity of our own household. To begin, any gray water that runs through household drains, such as water from the sink, dishwasher, washer machine, and showers, will be sent to a turbine located below the house. That turbine is then powered by the moving water that runs through the drains, and in turn, turns a generator that creates hydroelectric power. This power then flows through our house, sending electricity to our light bulbs and throughout our houses. Since the water is constantly circulating through the house and not automatically sent through a sewer system, we also have the advantage of conserving water and energy.

With power plants decreasing and hydroelectric power turbine plants increasing, our economy will develop into an efficient state which will help our economy grow out of depression. Understanding the impact of compact hydroelectric power plants beneath our households, perhaps people will take a step forward in giving a helping hand in conserving energy and making our world a healthier place to live in the future.

Sources and Photo Credits:

International Hydro Power Association. Hydro Power and the World’s Energy  Future. Ed. Canadian Hydropower Association. N.p., Nov. 2000. Web. 9 Jan. 2012. <http://www.ieahydro.org/reports/Hydrofut.pdf&gt;.

“Divided Over Dams.” The American Experience, PBS, Katya Chistik, Project Coordinator, Green Energy Ohio. Ron Feltenberger, formerly Vice President and Hydro System Designer, Universal Electric Power.

“Hydroelectric Power History.” Fuel From the Water. Bechtel BWXT, 25 Aug. 2003. Web. 9 Jan. 2012.

Quantized Magazine. All Rights Reserved.


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