Ichthyophylic Hydroelectric Power

Votes: 56
Views: 2250
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The problem:
Dams block fish on their way to spawn.

Fish ladders are ineffective for fish like sturgeon.

The result is costly fisheries that have to raise millions of fish each year.

Upstream ecosystems are severely damaged by the lack of fish that used to breed there.

Solution:
I thought there must be a solution. I rejected dam bypasses and run of the river hydro for wasting waterpower. To use all available water, I then realized that the fish must go through the dam itself.

How can the fish go through the dam?

I remembered that gas engines require good compression ratios, but water is incompressible, thus pistons need not bottom out. This water space can then permit fish through the dam.

Thus I conceived my generation method. By alternating a set of two valves, the water forces a piston to oscillate, while allowing fish pass safely.

I built a demonstration prototype containing a single piston and a linear generator hooked up to a set of LED’s. As the piston moves, the LEDs light, showing that it produces power.

Pistons in parallel would provide continuous water flow. Furthermore, pistons can be powered on both sides to provide more continuous power.

Future dams could feasibly utilize this generation scheme, producing valuable electricity while allowing the fish to pass unharmed.

Using the engineering testing and design method, I created a device that separates the fish from the generator yet uses all of the water provided to generate electricity.

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  • ABOUT THE ENTRANT

  • Name:
    Orion Smedley
  • Type of entry:
    individual
  • Profession:
    Student
  • Number of times previously entering contest:
    never
  • Orion's favorite design and analysis tools:
    Desmos Graphing calculator
  • Orion is inspired by:
    The world around me inspires. Every problem I see makes me think that "there must be a better way", that maybe I will solve it and make a difference.
  • Software used for this entry:
    N/A
  • Patent status:
    none