Imagine turning your home into a mini hydropower plant. That's exactly what Fulton Innovation has in mind. The Michigan-based company has created Lilliputian hydroelectric technologies that can power electric radios, speakers, clocks and TVs, using the water coming out of a bathroom faucet.
At the heart of the Fulton's Splashpower technology is a device called a Miniature Hydroelectric Generator. Such generators produce electricity by using the water flow in a house or building. Every time you run the water with a Splashpower mini-generator, you can power sprinkler systems, emergency lighting, a water softener and even outdoor camp lighting The mini-hydroelectric devices can also be used to charge batteries [source: Splashpower].
Author's Note: 10 Innovations in Hydropower
Have you ever wondered why most people live near bodies of water? Water made it easy to get to one place to another. Sources of water were used for farming. In addition, hydropower was the energy of choice for centuries. The history of hydropower is, in essence, the history of humankind. The ancient Greeks used their muscle to grind flour by hand. They then invented one of the first water wheels that made the job so much easier. They and others applied that technology to textile-making, woodworking and other uses. Over the centuries, we have devised new and better ways to harness the power of rushing water, such as those in this article.
- Adams, Jill. "Flaws in fish ladders, elevators." ScienceNOW. Jan. 31, 2013. (April 3, 2013) http://www.bendbulletin.com/article/20130131/NEWS0107/301310327/
- Beyond Fossil Fuels.com "Interview with Rick Dickson, Inventor on his Air Water Gravity Generator Concept." March 10, 2008. (March 29, 2013). http://www.beyondfossilfuel.com/hydroelectric/rick_dickson.html
- Bourne Energy. (March 29, 2013). http://www.bourneenergy.com/future.html
- Free Press Release. "Deep Water Pressure: New Source for Hydroelectric Power." Feb. 26, 2008. (March, 29, 2013). http://www.free-press-release.com/news/200802/1204065625.html
- Holyoak, Mark. "Thompson Falls Dam now helping fish." KPAX.com. Sept. 2, 2011. (March 28, 2013). http://www.kpax.com/news/thompson-falls-dam-now-helping-fish/#_
- Lafay, Elaine. "Prof. turns vibrations into electricity." The Michigan Daily. Nov. 14, 2007. (March 29, 2013). http://www.michigandaily.com/content/prof-turns-vibrations-electricity
- Leviathan Energy. "Benkatina Hydroelectric Turbine." (March 29, 2013). http://www.leviathanenergyinc.com/benkatina.html
- McGeehan, Patrick. "In Quest for River's Power, an Underwater Test Spin." The New York Times. Sept. 11, 2012. (March 28, 2013). http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/12/nyregion/in-quest-for-east-rivers-power-a-search-for-stouter-arms.html?ref=hydroelectricpower&_r=3&
- National Hydropower Association. "History of Hydro." (April, 4, 2013) http://www.hydro.org/tech-and-policy/history-of-hydro/
- Piesold, David, Colin Caro. "Hydropower goes helicoid." Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers. (March 28, 2013). http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=13830075
- PPL.com. "Montana records first fish climbing advanced fish ladder at Thompson Falls Dam." April 7, 2011. (March 28, 2013). http://www.pplmontana.com/news/PPL+Montana+records+first+fish+climbing+advanced+fish+ladder+at+Thompson+Falls+Dam+040711.htm
- Scoop.com. "Ocean Powered Hydroelectric Generator Invention." Jan. 3, 2006. (March 29, 2013). http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/SC0601/S00002.htm
- Sharp, David. "Ocean Renewable Power Co. Brings Tidal Power To U.S. Grid." Huffington Post. Sept. 14, 2012. (March 29, 2013). http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/14/ocean-renewable-power-co-tidal_n_1882501.html
- Splashpower.com "Putting Water to Work." (March 29, 2013). http://splashpower.com/
- Union of Concerned Scientists. "How Hydrokinetic Energy Works." (March 29, 2013). http://www.ucsusa.org/clean_energy/our-energy-choices/renewable-energy/how-hydrokinetic-energy-works.html
- Vortex Hydro Energy. "How VIVACE Works." (March 29, 2013). http://www.vortexhydroenergy.com/technology/
- Woodard, Colin. "Maine Company leading way as tidal energy comes of age." Portland Press Herald. July 21, 2012. (March 29, 2013). http://www.pressherald.com/news/maine-company-leading-way-as-tidal-energy-comes-of-age_2012-07-22.html?pagenum=full
Disposing and storing coal ash is tricky, and it takes one small trigger to cause a catastrophe. HowStuffWork looks at coal ash and the environment.