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Energy Cast Podcast: Getting hydro energy from the air


Energy Cast is a podcast featuring some of the top experts across all links in the energy industry chain, including hydropower, renewables, generation and more! Jay Dauenhauer created the show and has been hosting Energy Cast for several years.

I’m a huge hydroelectric supporter and always disagree with the notion that U.S. hydropower potential is tapped out. As this week’s guest shows, there’s a completely untapped hydroelectric potential floating above our heads.

Jake Hammock, co-founder and chief executive officer of Chaac Technologies, may have a solution. He and his partner Sam Kimzey are proposing condensing water from clouds and humid air to generate hydropower. Chaac, the company namesake, is the Mayan rain god. Jake hopes his company will produce lightning and rain in the form of hydroelectric energy.

Hammock says he got the idea while watering his plants while living in the Washington, D.C. area. Using an industrial-sized humidifier, similar to the one found in many basements, he believes he can tap the atmosphere for water and energy.

He’s also proposing a blimp or airship to house the intake fans, condensers, dehumidifiers and water bladders. Once the bladders are full, the water will pour down a flexible water tube to the earth below and run a turbine.

Click below to listen to the full episode:

“These will not be the small, RC blimps that we can put out on the table,” says Hammock. “These will be mini mall-sized.” He estimates that could be about 250 feet in length.

He says 1,000 gallons/min could produce about 5 MW/h of electricity, about the size of a wind turbine. The water tube would be 6 to 36 inches. The commercial-scale blimp would be surrounded with about 100 air-intake fans.

The blimp would hover about 1,000 feet overhead. However, mountains cause friction with clouds. For their pilot, Chaac has located a mountain in Utah with a 1,200-ft dropoff. Hammock says they will position the blimp over the butte, creating the same result.

In addition to the site’s unique features, Jakes says he chose Utah for its severe drought conditions, humidity levels, welcoming renewable climate and harsh air quality index. “It turns out that the Beehive State in Utah was the perfect candidate,” he says.

Hammock also believes they could help alleviate the “Inversion Layer,” in the Salt Lake area, which is caused by warm air trapping pollution close to the ground. “We would have the ability to condense inversion completely and eradicate it,” he says. (This podcast originally aired in June 2019.)

Energy Cast Podcast is hosted biweekly by Jay Dauenhauer.

Learn more about the podcast here.

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