We’ve tried this before – in the late 1800s. We found that if you took water from an aquifer, then put it in tanks that could be heated with fossil-fuel energy, and then that water could be used as steam and then pumped into boilers. That system would have plenty of energy to go around.”
But no system ever built would have run itself, because the water never got there in the first place. A well can only be “well-drained” if it’s in contact with at least two liquids. You might think that a well requires a big container with a lot of room – like a tank – but a typical well only gets a few gallons a day due to poor water management. “If you’ve got a well that’s been there for 30 or 40 years, and is only getting one or two gallons per day, not a lot of people will go out and get a bucket and have a bucket and pour out that water,” explains O’Callaghan.
What about using electricity from turbines in the same way as a river? That method is relatively easy to build: The wind can be used to rotate the turbine shaft, providing the electricity required. It’s known as a “diesel” power station.
O’Callaghan has been trying for a decade to turn water powered turbines into a serious technology – and has come up empty handed. The only way he has been able to get one going is to go to the very top of the industry and to a company that actually makes the water turbines: Siemens.
O’Callaghan’s team is testing a prototype that will work for small commercial uses – like making water boil and then delivering it to a household. The main problem he is having is getting enough electricity to run the turbines. His team has spent $250,000 trying to get the right amount of renewable energy to turn its turbines, and it’s getting a little tight. O’Callaghan suspects it may be the end of that project too, after its developers found that the turbines simply weren’t as strong as it had anticipated.
But he’s still working towards something, and that something may be a big project he’s been developing with a company called EnerSys that focuses on the creation of renewable energy with waste water instead of oil and coal:
“We think one of the most significant things we’ve done with this technology, at the current time, is we believe you can generate renewable energy using water. You might think
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