Gallery: Engineers in Hong Kong Generate Electricity from Water Mains


For decades in China, hydroelectricity has been used on a large scale to generate power. Now, engineers from the PolyU’s Department of Building Services Engineering and the Water Supplies Department (WSD) of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government are working on using water mains to create electricity. Hong Kong has a network of pipes that stretch 7,800 km that need to be monitored constantly to ensure that they are clean and functioning properly. To run the observation equipment, small turbines are placed in pipes to harness the motion of water passing by. Each little turbine is able to pump out 80 volts, enough energy to power about four fluorescent light bulbs.

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  1. pmanke December 20, 2012 at 11:56 am

    Hardly green if it merely taps the water pressure others supply from other means. The presure in the main water pipes is supplied by some energy proviaion. It is not a natural source at all, and tapping it is probably illegal if more than ones own private supply line is involved. Seems allot like the idea of putting a windmill or a ground driven generator on your car.

  2. Jessie Garcia-Pacheco December 17, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    This is a great idea to generate green energy. Other municipalities should definitely take note.

  3. metadesigners December 17, 2012 at 5:43 am

    Sorry if I’ve misread what you say, but this article is not so clear about what kind of energy this device is retrieving. Many water supplies attain tap pressure from pumping stations. In effect, this water is already using energy from the national grid (e.g. electricity generated from carbon fuel or nuclear, etc.). I get the impression that your system is largely hydroelectric. If so, this is an excellent system. If not, I can see that it may be a way to get small quantities of electricity into places that have no power cables. Thank you.

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