“Can water be used to create useful energy?”
Water is one of the most omnipresent substances found on this planet.An entire three-quarters of the planet is covered by it. Water often moves not in small streams but with large flows, piling through it’s path with titanic levels of energy. So one might think, is it possible to capture some of this energy to transfer it into useful forms?
Well, let’s think about how we could do so. First of all, we know that turbines can extract energy from moving fluids to power a generator to create electricity. Second of all, We know that water flow can be controlled through the uses of dams. So what if we placed a damn near a flowing path of water, and directed all of that energy so it would move a turbine that would power human infrastructure? Well, this is the operating principle behind hydropower.
Hydropower is the use of the kinetic energy of water to power electricity. The power generated by a hydropower plant can be calculated with the following equation P=Mu*rho*Q*g*h, with Mu being the efficiency of the turbines, rho being the density of the water passing through, (Kilograms per cubic meter), Q being the flow (Cubic meters per second), g being the acceleration by gravity, and h being the height difference between the inlet and outlet in meters. Hydropower is clean, renewable, and affordable form of energy. Hydropower produces almost one fifth of the world’s electricity, the primary contributors being China, Canada, Brazil, The United States, and Russia. Notable hydroelectric projects include the three gorges damn in China and the Grand Coulee Dam on the Columbia River in northern Washington in the U.S. However, one has to be cautious when developing such systems, and the infrastructure may disrupt local wildlife and natural resources.
In summation, hydropower is a fascinating subject, and engineers around the world are dedicating themselves to the study and application of this form of power.