Scroll down for image and link to the L.A. Times article that inspired this post.
What about taking the opportunity to update the systems themselves? Improved engineering, more power from less water flow. I’m NOT an engineer, but I am willing to take a guess that smaller hydropower tunnels and lighter weight machinery could allow more VOLTS generated even using a small stream of water? Here is my theory… keep more water behind the dam, send LESS through the power generators. Actually, if you create venturi effects, less water could move through with MORE FORCE and HIGHER SPEEDS, right? What about some way(like specific paths through the dam) to cause the waters to accelerate? As for the electricity itself, where is our semi-conductor technology for “gathering and boosting lower to higher voltages” Does Elon Musk’s TESLA have any cool tech that can be used here? Separately what about the up and coming “3D printing for building construction” to assist in repairing any cement/stonework? I love speculating ideas on such an iconic structure. =)
I’ve got a dumb question, since I didn’t get to take physics in high school… if you cause the water itself to be MORE DENSE(colder?)… does this improve or take away from the efficiency of the power generation machinery?
I’ll take it up another notch in thinking. WHAT IF..? A whole NEW design allowed for perpetual motion of the generators and only a fraction of the water is needed to just boost it now and then keep up the speed as needed? The concept is like winding up a clock, and also counter balancing. In other words, some of the power could be returned to the machinery to make it more efficient when the water volume is turned lower? Maybe it is already there and I just don’t recall. I am not a regular student of this kind of thing. Also, I am not sure anyone has tried this idea… using the water itself to also create air compression that can be stored and re-injected with the water stream to boost generator speeds as needed. Or remove the compressed air boost to slow the generators. Doing this may help temper fluctuations in the generators’ speeds and from what I do know about cars we drive, machinery lasts longer when used at regulated and less variable RPMs.
With the reservoir now just 32 feet away from “minimum power pool” — the point at which Glen Canyon Dam would no longer generate power for six states — federal officials are studying the possibility of overhauling the dam so that it can continue to generate electricity and release water at critically low levels.