Happy consumption from hydro

Hydro. For me, beginning work in October as an associate editor in the Hydro Group at PennWell Corp. was truly an immersion into Hydro Review and HRW-Hydro Review Worldwide. Depending on your place in life, “hydro” could mean any number of things or nothing at all. Prior to working for PennWell, categorize my hydro mindset as nothing at all.

I have been a professional journalist for nearly a decade. But keep in mind that prior to reporting on hydroelectricity, 90 percent of my concern over anything hydro-related revolved around how much I pay monthly for water usage. The remaining 10 percent of concern dealt with flash floods or drought.

“Ignorance on a global scale,” you say? Easy there, mate. But, you’re correct. I was totally ignorant of the importance, and too, the never-ending process of hydro as it relates to hydroelectricity.

I do not live on protected lands. I live in a city that receives most of its electrical power from a coal-fired plant. I am not an outdoorsman, hence sport fishing or recreational activities on a lake or river do not enter my thought process. But like most humans I love electricity, and I know producing the flow of power is not a magical process completed by power fairies.

Hydro, after 30 days on the job, to me means power but not solely electrical power. Hydro also encompasses enormous, far-reaching issues that are entities unto themselves.

Of the hydro issues that affect me most, impact and power are paramount.

Impact, in my view, is the affect my lifestyle will experience as a result of the decisions made by people who have legislative authority. Whether the authority is single-source or the result of a majority vote, authority is increasingly deciding equipment that generates hydroelectricity will come into physical contact with drinking water. This will likely occur in traditional hydro systems and non-traditional hydro — systems that have no contact with a dam or similar facility.

The impact from authority will begin to affect millions of people worldwide who, similar to me, have scant knowledge of the immense power related to hydroelectricity.

Right about now you may be asking, “Why?” Well, unlike powering your stuff, authority is about to impact the internal functions of your body.

Suffice to say, the inherent energy in a pressurized water system will be captured and ultimately find its way to an electrical power grid as generated electricity. In order to get harvest energy from a closed system, someone has to put a device inside of a water pipe.

Cities in the U.S., Canada and Europe are beginning to develop in-pipe hydroelectric generation within pressurized drinking water systems. Put simply, before water potentially enters your body, it will pass through added equipment placed inside water pipes. The equipment will be some form of a turbine that harnesses the power already in the system.

Hydro. To you who are similarly ignorant as was I, hydro may one day mean, “Happy consumption.”

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Gregory B. Poindexter formerly was an associate editor for HydroWorld.com.

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