The Poseidon Hydroelectric System offers a new way to produce round-the-clock, low-cost, reliable electricity on any water source.
The world will continue to need electric power for the foreseeable future, but the climate crisis underscores the need for no carbon energy production. Before the emphasis on electric cars, Bill Gates predicted a 50% increase in the need for electricity by 2050. While the momentum is encouraging the use of electric vehicles (EVs), little discussion is being held on where that electricity is going to come from.
Hydroelectric (hydro) is the cheapest and most reliable form of US renewable energy but has been losing market share to other energy platforms, such as wind and solar, to the point that most people think of these platforms before they consider hydro. There have not been any new hydropower plants in the US since the early 1990s due to a lack of innovation. Most innovations in hydro are focused on pumped storage, where a portion of the power generated is used to pump and store water at a higher elevation during periods of low energy usage to produce power when the energy need is greater. The future of renewable energy is a blend of previous technologies that expand the opportunity to produce electricity where it was never possible before, i.e., on any lake, pond, or ocean.
Our journey began in 2006 in Texas, with research into how to use gravity to pressurise water without a mechanical pump. This progressed to work on wave energy at Chinaman’s Hat cove, Oahu Island, Hawaii. After many years of study and two functional patented devices using wave energy, it was concluded that while wave energy is powerful, it is not reliable as waves are dependent on the whim of nature. People depend on electricity and want it available when they need it rather than when it is possible to produce it.
The Poseidon Hydroelectric System fixes the problems with traditional hydro and avoids the concerns with other renewable energy platforms. Practical renewable energy must be reliable, cost-effective, widely accessible, and affordable. Poseidon does all of this while opening the door to energy production on 70% of the Earth’s surface at a lower cost than other energy systems.
Every hydro system in the world uses gravity to move the mass of the water. The higher the water source, the more force results. Trillions of watts of power have been produced around the globe using this system since the late 1800s. However, the process of harnessing that waterpower has resulted in problems such as fish kill and ecological destruction, particularly if the dam should fail to result in massive downstream flooding. These issues have stymied further development in the US and created potential international conflicts relating to downstream water flow, disruption of fishing, and work processes. Despite that, the science of traditional hydroelectricity is widely accepted globally because it works. The mathematical formula is that the force is equal to the mass times the acceleration.
Poseidon is not a perpetual motion machine; however, the working components have proven track records for continuous operation without external power. Poseidon requires energy to lift the water from the source and completes this task using a siphon that is driven by atmospheric pressure and a kinetic pump powered by gravity to amplify the pressure of the water used to drive the hydroelectric turbines.
Once started, Poseidon will operate continuously unless the flow of water is disrupted or turned off. If the water flow is turned off, however, re-starting the flow will quickly re-institute operation, thereby providing the opportunity to adjust to variable power demands without the need for storage batteries. Hydroelectricity operates at a constant frequency to avoid damage to the electric grid.
The processes behind Poseidon Hydroelectric
The Poseidon Hydroelectric System produces electricity on any water source without violating any laws of physics if there is sufficient water availability for that model. A siphon lifts the water from the source and delivers it to our proprietary hydraulic ram to capture the kinetic energy and amplify the pressure of the water. At 70 pounds per square inch, we have the equivalent of a 162-foot dam to drive the generators. But there is no dam – Poseidon does consume energy in the operational processes, but those energy sources are constant and readily available everywhere on Earth. To understand how we get the water to a higher level, one must understand how these tools work.
The operation of a siphon has been widely studied and remains controversial but the fact that siphons have been used since biblical times and continue to be used to transfer fluids from one location to another is unchallenged. One explanation of a siphon is that atmospheric pressure pushes down on the water surface at 14.8 pounds per square inch (psi). Reducing the pressure inside a pipe to less than this value results in the water being pushed upwards into the pipe. Using the values of atmospheric pressure at 14.8 psi and that each pound of pressure will lift the water 2.31 feet upwards, the maximum lift available through a siphon is 34.2 feet before gravity becomes the dominant force and stops the upward lift. Since the water has mass, it is still controlled by gravity which will cause the water to flow back downwards.
The hydraulic ram uses the gravity-driven flow of water to accelerate the water’s speed through a drive pipe. The longer the drive pipe, the faster the water flows. Since the water has mass, which is being accelerated, a force is created (kinetic energy). At the bottom of the pipe, a moveable valve (waste valve) that is normally open controls the flow of the water. As the water rushes through the waste valve, the flow of the water causes this valve to close. Immediately, the kinetic energy in the water stops, reverses, and is called the ‘hammer effect,’ as tremendous pressure levels are achieved. The pressure levels are partially determined by the height of the starting point above the valve level (i.e., no more than 34.2 feet in a siphon flow), the length of the drive pipe, and internal pipe resistances. The height of the starting point is called the ‘head’ and in our laboratory, an 11-foot head with a 30 feet drive pipe resulted in 140 psi to be developed in the pipe.
As the kinetic energy reverses in the pipe, two things happen. First, the force causes another valve that is normally closed to pop open and injects pressurised water into a tank. Second, the backed-up water flow causes the first valve to re-open, so the cycle repeats itself over and over. As the tank fills with water, the air in the tank is compressed until it reaches 70 pounds per square inch or .483 megapascals which is equal to the pressure of a 49.4-metre dam to drive the turbines.
Traditional hydrams waste approximately 60% of the water which is allowed to flow to the ground. Poseidon’s proprietary features make the system more efficient as the wasted water is captured and redirected to another hydram which allows a sole source of water from a siphon to drive two hydro-electric generators before the water returns to the original source.
The advantages of the Poseidon Hydroelectric System
The result is a better hydroelectric power system that retains the benefits of traditional systems but eliminates the negatives. Using the most consistent energy source in the Galaxy, i.e., gravity, results in a consistent flow of energy production without sun, wind, special circuits, or batteries. This electricity is delivered directly to the current grid system.
Hydro is the most reliable form of power and Poseidon is a better innovative version. The absence of a dam means there is no need to flood the land to create a reservoir or to cause downstream flooding. The ability to use the infinite passive water sources of the ocean, which covers 70% of the Earth’s surface, means that the Poseidon operation is not determined by the need for rainfall for power 24 hours a day, seven days a week. As Poseidon uses constant energy sources, there are no fuel costs and few moving parts, so electricity production costs are very low at less than 5 cents a kWh on salt water and less than 3 cents per kWh on fresh water. Poseidon’s operation is so flexible that it may be operated anywhere there is access to water – on a boat, oil platform, or onshore.
A recurring complaint about renewable energy platforms is the way that they look. The aesthetics of a Poseidon Power Plant are flexible so it may be located and operated near population centres without disturbance. The upper deck of a Poseidon Power Plant may be used in a variety of ways such as office space, retail, or residential.
This table of the renewable energy challenges from the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative compares major sources of electricity production. Poseidon scores 99 out of 100. Traditional hydroelectric is next at 80 but solar and wind are in the 20s. Key components of Poseidon technology have been vetted by the Texas Environmental Quality Board and the National Oceanographic Administration Agency.
This table compares the key points of Poseidon against solar energy. Solar ranges up to 75 cents while Poseidon is less than 3 cents/ kWh in fresh water and less than 5 cents in salt water. Poseidon does not need batteries, has a small land footprint, and delivers power directly to the electric grid at a constant frequency so you do not need special circuitry.
Solar only works when the sun shines. No sun for three days and batteries can be depleted. In contrast, Poseidon works 24/7 and can be adjusted up or down as needed to meet consumer demand.
From the start, we planned to minimise any environmental impact, and the focus was directed at what problems currently exist with hydroelectric systems. After considering the impacts of creating water reservoirs and dams, two major concerns remained – fish kill and the impact of downstream water flow on the local ecology. To address these concerns, Poseidon uses progressively smaller water filters to restrict the entrance of marine life into the system. In traditional hydroelectric dams, fish may be forced into the system by the sheer power of the water flow or induced to swim around the system. The low force flow of the siphon inhibits the ingestion of fish and marine life and the filters direct larger contaminants away from the intake.
The water returned to the source from the Poseidon system will dissipate most of the kinetic energy through the hydroelectric generators. Pressure dissipators return the water with less pressure by flowing the water upwards toward the surface and across the marine filters to disperse waste that may collect around the water surface.
Three concerns of noise, temperature elevation, and ship shadow that may be unique to Poseidon were also addressed. Hydraulic rams create noise from the hammer effect. In our laboratory, the noise levels were measured at 88 decibels A scale, and it is anticipated that larger pipes with an increased flow will result in greater noise levels. This issue should be controlled by adding acoustical material to the drive pipe and valves and installing sound-absorbing materials to the walls of the hydram area.
It is also anticipated that, as water flows through the pipe, pipe resistances may increase the water temperature. Naturally, water temperature fluctuates daily at any single location within a range. Temperature increases from flowing through pipes should not exceed the normal daily temperature fluctuations from climactic actions. Water temperature fluctuations up to one degree Celsius have a negligible impact on corals. It is also not expected that Poseidon will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week as the need for electricity varies according to time of day.
The third concern of ship shadow will apply to Poseidon units operated near the shore as the bulk of the power plant may reduce the natural flow of sunshine to the marine bottom. Should this be a challenge for a specific location, Poseidon may be moved further offshore where the shadow of the ship is not a factor.
Poseidon Hydroelectric is a gamechanger
The Poseidon Hydroelectric System offers the opportunity to expand the production of reliable renewable energy without environmental harm and at a cost lower than any other form of energy production. Across the world, electric grid systems are already in place so providing power to the grid allows the continuation of a proven system and eliminates the need for special distributive systems, batteries, and the huge expense to homeowners to purchase, operate, and replace solar power systems.
Please note, this article will also appear in the eleventh edition of our quarterly publication.